Expansion planned for East Liberty Whole Foods

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Whole Foods Market, the grocery store development that helped launch East Liberty's renaissance, is in line for some revitalization itself.

Steve Mosites, president of the Mosites Co., said Monday he is working with Whole Foods officials on a plan to expand the 32,000-square-foot store by 11,600 square feet.

At the same time, Mosites is seeking to increase the store's parking by a third, providing some relief to customers battling for spots in what seems like a chronically congested lot.

Mr. Mosites said he hopes to get started on the expansion by the first of the year. The project, he said, would not shut down the store, which opened in 2002.

"It's a complicated project. It will be sequenced to try to minimize the impact to the consumer," he said.

Whole Foods is interested in using the extra space to enlarge its prepared foods and produce sections, Mr. Mosites said.

The expansion would move the East Liberty store closer to the size of its sister stores throughout the country. Mr. Mosites said the standard Whole Foods now runs about 40,000 square feet, and some are as large as 60,000 square feet.

"There are stores that offer things that ours does not due to the size," he said.

Since the East Liberty store opened, Whole Foods has added a second Pittsburgh-area location in the Wexford Plaza shopping center in McCandless and announced plans for a third in the South Hills.

While the proposed expansion in East Liberty is still in the early stages, Mr. Mosites said both sides are working on finalizing plans and lease terms so the project can begin.

"It's just an early plan at this point that we both want to carry out," he said.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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