By Liz Petoniak / Edited by Andrea Bosco Stehle
As Pittsburgh works to keep up its title of the “Most Livable City” in the U.S., our concept of urban living is constantly evolving. In the words of Shawn Fox, Oxford Development’s vice president of business development, “Pittsburgh has been at the forefront of this trend of urban versus suburban sprawl living. People enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to a restaurant or the connectivity of being able to ride your bike to a different neighborhood. They enjoy the activities and amenities in the urban core lifestyle.” And, in an effort to meet the demands of those flocking here to experience it, innovative residential properties are cropping up — from Lawrenceville to South Side, and everywhere in between. Read on to learn more about Pittsburgh’s changing landscape from local influencers and discover some of the newest city living options that showcase just how far we’ve come.
THE YARDS AT 3 CROSSINGS
This spring, a former truck yard in the Strip District will complete its transformation into The Yards at 3 Crossings, an upscale waterfront residential community comprised of 300 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom leasing units. Ranging in size from 472 to 1217 square feet, each apartment will boast nine-foot ceilings, walk-in closets, granite finishes, luxury vinyl plank flooring, city views, and some will offer the option of a balcony or Juliet balcony. As the name suggests, what truly sets The Yards apart is the property’s abundance of open green space, measured at one acre. “The coolest backyard in the city” will not only connect inhabitants to the Allegheny River, the riverfront trails, and riverfront park upon completion, but will also provide amenities aimed at encouraging interaction and a sense of community such as a pool, hot tub, fire pit, grilling area, and outdoor TV lounge.
Additionally, The Yards will appeal to those who embrace an active lifestyle and seek an inclusive experience with concierge service that goes above and beyond; a fitness center; conference and workrooms; and a club room and game room complete with a bar and kitchen. Pet lovers are welcome, too — few dog breeds will be restricted and owners will be sure to relish in spending time with their furry friends at the onsite pet park and pet wash room. And, whether your preferred mode of transportation is a car, bicycle, or a kayak, The Hub, located across the street, will house it along with offering electric car charging stations, bike rentals, and car-sharing services cars. MI-Apartment Home, a division of McCaffery Interests of Chicago, will manage the building, designed to meet LEED Silver Standards, and the project, headed by Oxford Development, has been estimated at $60 million. Oxford’s vice president of business development, Shawn Fox, believes The Yards will complement the neighborhood, attracting additional residents who will support the area’s businesses and build upon the core of what’s already become a burgeoning residential and office community. “We really embraced the fabric of being in the Strip District, from the overall design, to the outdoor area, and the rooms themselves, showcasing its industrial past to its interactive present,” he says. Once the leasing office opens this October, a model will be available for viewing.
→ The Yards, 2634 Railroad St., Strip District.
COBBLE HOUSE CONDOS
Located in the heart of the exploding neighborhood of Lawrenceville, the Cobble House Condos offer residents the convenience of city living along with luxurious amenities. The historically renovated stone building is one of the newest projects from Botero Development, a company that focuses on developing “well-built, well-designed, and well-located properties throughout the City of Pittsburgh,” based upon the belief that the “quality and design of the spaces in which one lives, works, shops, and socializes matter.” Only seven condos remain in this building, tucked away on a quiet side street within close walking distance to Arsenal Park; The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; and one block from Butler Street’s Industry Public House, Tender Bar + Kitchen, and Smoke BBQ Taqueria. Amenities include onsite parking, bike parking, and a roof deck with a community garden for planting some homegrown veggies and savoring after-work cocktails. Each unit boasts contemporary design features with open-concept floor plans, exposed cobblestone and ducts, stainless steel appliances, high-end fixtures, large windows that let in natural light, and customizable options for each individual buyer. The model is now open for viewing, and one-bedroom and two-bedroom units start from $209,500 and $309,500, respectively.
For more information, contact Stephanie Ensenat, Jana Randall, or Craig Byrum of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services at 585.301.1388, 724.831.0232, or 412.915.2385, respectively.
→ Cobble House Condos, 260 42nd St., Lawrenceville.
Discover one of Pittsburgh’s most innovative, sustainable, and stunning residential properties: 2500 SMALLMAN. Designed by Desmone Architects and constructed by Guardian Construction Management Services, 2500 SMALLMAN brings forth a new concept of an environmentally aware community to the energetic and culturally vibrant Strip District. With potential for LEED Home Certification, each unit offers the option of energy-efficient fixtures and heating and cooling systems; passive and active stormwater re-use; self-sustaining vegetative roofs; and safe and environmentally friendly building materials, including some locally sourced or reclaimed, for a living space to feel good about. The building offers residents 1,500 square feet of common area with room for entertaining, a caterer’s kitchen, an elevated “boardwalk,” and a private community motor court with a snow-melt system. In addition to close access to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, a ground-floor level fitness center makes it easy to keep in shape, complete with lockers and a separate, temperature-controlled personal training room for private workouts, massages, and hot yoga. Choose from two- and three-story units with three to five bedroom configurations, ranging from 3,450 to 5,985 square feet, ready for move in November 2015. Each unit places emphasis on open-air living with a private courtyard with the option of a fireplace, water feature, and planting area; a balcony; and glass wall systems for bringing the outdoors in. You’ll also find 10- to 13-foot ceilings, heated floors, custom cabinetry throughout, the option of a two- or three-car garage, and other customizable luxury hallmarks. You can even add a smart-house upgrade or elevator!
For more information, contact Darla K. Jobar of Northwood Realty Services at 724.413.4663.
→ 2500 SMALLMAN, 2500 Smallman St., Strip District.
DESTINATION: DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH
In recent years, Pittsburgh’s Downtown area has served as a shining example of the city’s substantial residential growth, attracting more and more tenants who call the neighborhood home. Perhaps no one understands this dramatic transformation more than Lucas Piatt, president and COO of Millcraft Investments, the real estate developer responsible for game-changing Downtown living options like the Market Square Place Lofts, The Residences at Piatt Place, and River Vue Apartments. We spoke with the mogul on his predictions for the future of Downtown living, financial advice for city dwellers, and exciting upcoming projects.
WHIRL: What do you foresee happening Downtown in the next five years? How about 10?
Lucas Piatt: When [Millcraft Industries] first came to redevelop the Downtown area nearly 10 years ago, it was a scary place. Tumbleweeds virtually blew through the streets at 5 p.m. There were less than 1,000 residents living Downtown at that time. People thought we were crazy for proposing to build 65 luxury condos on top of the failed Lazarus department store. Fast forward to now, and the changes in the city have been monumental. Downtown will continue to grow over the next five years, and along with the continued growth of the residential market, I see more and more amenities coming Downtown to support it — more restaurants, playgrounds, boutiques, small grocery markets, and increased nightlife and entertainment options like ultra lounges and movie theaters. We are working on several of those items right now as we speak. In the next 10 years, Downtown will be a world-class neighborhood with 20-25,000 full-time residents, and I would venture to guess that more of those units will be owned versus being rented. The majority of the living options in the city now are only for rent. We think that will shift a bit going forward.
WHIRL: Is it better to buy or rent for Downtown and urban living?
LP: It is all a personal preference. If a person needs flexibility, the ability to relocate at the drop of a hat, and doesn’t have a larger amount of equity, then a rental might be the only reasonable choice. If a person has a longer term goal in mind and plans to live in the city for more than two to three years — and perhaps wants to take advantage of tax deductions, increased property values, and not having to pay a landlord — then a condo purchase might make sense. I am a big believer that building wealth through home ownership is a smart financial move, particularly in a metropolitan area since price appreciation usually grows more in a dense urban environment.
WHIRL: What current project are you most excited about?
LP: We are excited to break ground on the redevelopment of the former Saks [Fifth Avenue] department store. That project has some fantastic restaurants on the first floor, much-needed parking above, and a residential tower [also] above that will feature up to 100 unique residential units. This project is very exciting since it will continue the Smithfield Street redevelopment and solidify our initial vision for Piatt Place, a mixed-use project we developed almost 10 years ago. Outside of our newest [residential] project, which we will call Lumiere, it will be very interesting to watch the Civic Arena redevelopment, the Strip District project, and the Almono project progress forward. It is a very exciting time to be a Pittsburgher.
Check out these additional fabulous listings, all within city limits!
Listed at $3,500,000 / 5023 Frew St., Squirrel Hill
Often compared to The Dakota, one of Manhattan’s most prestigious cooperatives, Park Mansions remains one of Pittsburgh’s most spectacular and extremely private addresses, providing a bellman, valet parking, and grocery and mail service to those who call it home. The elevator opens directly into the stylish foyer of this historic four-bedroom, four-and-one-half-bath abode, formerly lived in by Richard Mellon Scaife. Comprised of two combined units totaling 6,000 square feet, each bedroom is its own suite, and gorgeous views overlooking the Bob O’Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park are found throughout. Although expansive, the space maintains a feeling of intimacy and utility, and seamlessly combines Old World décor and charm with contemporary sophistication. Highlights include built-in bookshelves that reveal hidden closet space; wallpaper by Italian painter and sculptor Piero Fornasetti in each bathroom; and a gorgeous walk-in wine room and formal dining room. Entertaining is a breeze with a kitchen decked out in top-of-the-line Viking and Jenn-Air appliances, a dual convection oven, and a spacious butler’s pantry. Relax in the two-story living room, adorned with floor-to-ceiling wainscoting and crown molding imported from England. Then, retire for the evening in the master suite, complete with a dressing room lined with closets on both sides, a seating area, and a serene en suite bath with a jet soaking tub.
For more information, contact Brian Sergi-Curfman of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services at 412.901.6900.
15TH STREET GLASSWORK CONDOMINIUMS
Listed at $549,000 / 1424 Muriel St., South Side
Experience the walkability and ride-ability Pittsburgh’s South Side has to offer from this three-story townhouse in the 15th Street Glasswork Condominiums. Located within walking distance to all of the excitement on Carson Street, as well as Downtown and the Three Rivers Heritage Bike Trail, the three-bedroom, two-full-and-one-half bath residence also offers secure off-street parking. Turn the key to the front door and enter the open first-floor living area with nine-foot ceilings and stunning hardwood floors. Head back to prepare a snack in the eat-in kitchen, which includes cherry cabinets, granite countertops, a stylish tile backsplash, a breakfast bar, and stainless steel appliances. French doors open to a beautifully landscaped, private rear courtyard with a flagstone patio, perfect for enjoying a morning cup of coffee or dinner al fresco. Upstairs, the master suite features a walk-in closet; a rear deck overlooking the courtyard with dramatic South Side slopes; and a fabulous master bath with an oversized shower, a jetted tub, and a double basin vanity. Also situated on the second floor is an office that holds potential to be a fourth bedroom, and a laundry room with a front-loading washer and dryer. After a long day, head up to the rooftop deck, accessible from the second and third bedrooms, to unwind and watch the incredible sunset view of the Golden Triangle and Mt. Washington.
For more information, contact Bob Dini of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty at 412.833.7700.