By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In the bright afternoon sun, the veggies and herbs are growing in the new garden at The Porch at Siena at St. Clair.

Executive Chef Kevin Hermann is starting to pick the luscious tomatoes and include them in his daily dishes. The Porch was the first business to open in Siena. Hermann says they are now enjoying the company as more businesses putting out the “Open” sign.

“As this plaza becomes more active, we’re finding more business during the daytime. And it’s attracting more business in the evening time,” said Hermann.

Siena developer Hal Kestler says the openings are coming quickly now.

“Xfinity is open, Drybar is open, Nothing Bundt Cake is open, Scottrade is open, Hello Bistro opens next week next to SportClips, and Envy Nails,” said Kestler.

Pittsburgh’s first introduction to an Outer Banks treat – Duck Donuts – is packing them in. The concept features custom-made cake donuts, and owner Andy Jarusinsky is loving the reaction.

“There are times there are lines out the door, particularly on the weekends,” he says.

Soon the Duck will have a lot of company.

Kestler says, “A 5,500-square foot restaurant is coming on the lower endcap, a 4,500-square foot restaurant on the upper endcap, and three retail tenants whose space exceeds 10,000-square feet. That includes a furniture store, a supplier and a large retailer.”

Kestler doesn’t want to name the tenants until the ink is dry on the leases, but he expects Siena to be completely under lease by the end of the year. Everybody should be open sometime early next year.

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The folks at Pinpoint Retail are working on those leases for Siena, and also on leases for The Block Northway on the old Northway Mall site in Ross Township.

Last August, Nordstrom Rack opened its doors, followed quickly by Saks Off 5th, The Container Store, DSW Shoes, Ulta, J.Crew Merchantile. They joined longtime tenants Marshalls, Petsmart and Aldi.

But now a new wave of openings has started at The Block.

Pinpoint’s Craig Polard says, “Kirkland’s opened this past weekend, and next to them will be Bassett Furniture, which will be there first in Pittsburgh, and they open Aug. 15. The Block’s 100-space free parking garage is expected to open in mid-August as well.

The Block Northway’s first restaurant, Corelife, opened recently, offering a very healthy way of eating.

Corelife’s John Buzzie says, “We’re getting busier every single day. We started with a little signage and we have a lot of word of mouth, and that’s how we’re getting a lot of business.”

More culinary company is on the way for Corelife.

Polard says in the new building next to Aldi, “We’ve got Jason’s Deli, which will be opening late August, along with Piata Italian Street Food.”

In all, there will be six restaurants at The Block.

An announcement is expected within the next month on what major retailer has signed on to use the old Dick’s space. Several smaller tenants are also on the way, but Polard isn’t ready to announce those names.

And then there is phase two of The Block, which is currently a pile of dirt and bulldozer tracks. Pollard says there’s no timetable on its development, but, “you will see more retail, residential and offices up there,” says Polard.

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