Affordable-ish Housing in Pittsburgh: the calm before the snowstorm edition | Affordable-ish Housing | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Affordable-ish Housing in Pittsburgh: the calm before the snowstorm edition

click to enlarge Affordable-ish Housing in Pittsburgh: the calm before the snowstorm edition (7)
Photo: Courtesy of Apartments.com
Interior of 522 E. Warrington Ave.

In so many ways, Pittsburgh is better now than it was when I was growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I mean, it was home and I loved it — but unless you really have a thing for abandoned houses, abandoned factories, abandoned everything (OK, and maybe I did at one point), this is just objectively a better time to be alive in Pittsburgh.

But there’s one thing that’s way worse, and I don’t know how to fix it: winter.

Winter is a pretty essential part of the little-kid calendar — snow days (and two-hour delays), Christmas, sledding, ice hockey, snowball fights, tackle football in the snow. Now it’s just trash.

Whether it’s due to global warming, El Nino, or whatever, winter is just cold, dark, gray/brown, soaking wet and seemingly endless. Yeah, there’s cold shit dropping out of the sky, but it definitely isn’t snow. What’ll it be today — hail, freezing rain, ice fog, thunder snow, a giant Coke Slushie dropped by God?

What does this have to do with housing? Well, despite the varied precipitation, one thing remains true: suddenly some of the very things that set a house apart on our good days — a distinctive view, a verdant hillside of undevelopable green — are kind of your worst enemy for a few months. This too shall pass. But buyer beware and all.

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Photo: Courtesy of Zillow
3516 Campus St.
NORTH SIDE

For sale: 3516 Campus St., $339,900. Brighton Heights/North Side
Holding on to petty hatreds is a bad look in general, and the arrival of a new year is as good a reason as any to let them go. But they’ll have to pry the hatred of 1960s aluminum awnings out of my cold, dead heart. Way too often, you see a charming brick Pittsburgh foursquare like this, and you just have to imagine what it looks like without the metal awning. Well, this one has nothing (!) and it’s kind of great. Though Brighton Heights is on the least convenient side of the North Side (for everything except going to that thrift shop in Bellevue), it’s generally quiet and full of well-built homes like these. If you still pine for the sound of raindrops hammering away on creaky old metal, you can just buy tiny tap shoes for the local squirrels or something.

click to enlarge Affordable-ish Housing in Pittsburgh: the calm before the snowstorm edition
Photo: Courtesy of Apartments.com
1901 Termon Ave.
For rent: 1901 Termon Ave. (Unit 1), $1,200/month. Brighton Heights/North Side
Yellow brick, bright pink trim, a second (and third) floor — this place doesn’t have it all, but it has a lot. Oddly, the bricked-in fireplace inside is of a different, dark red variety. There’s a cinderblock “garage” out of the way in an alley, which is where all garages should be sent in a perfect world. It specifies “up to 2 pets admitted with additional pet rent” — which does sound insane when you put it like that — but makes (some) sense when you think about it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Zillow
66 Sylvania Ave.
BELTZHOOVER/ALLENTOWN

For sale: 66 Sylvania Ave., $79,900. Beltzhoover.
Okay, I don’t know a lot about Beltzhoover. What goes on in Beltzhoover? Are they properly referred to as Beltzhooverians, or Beltzhooverites, or something else? Can you commute to work with a sled in the winter? Sure, there’s probably a reason that this house — even with a covered porch, new furnace, and hot water heater — costs about the same as a parking spot in Boston. And why the price was just cut by $10,000. Maybe a big reason. (And … here it is. The rooms are just unfinished shells). But at this price — and some sweat equity — there’s something to build on here.

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Photo: Courtesy of Apartments.com
522 E. Warrington Ave.
For rent: 522 E. Warrington Ave., $1,375/month. Allentown
“Restore the Brown Line!” sounds like some kind of home remedy for constipation (or worse). But it could also be the key to making Allentown’s revival stick. There used to be a branch of “The T,” Pittsburgh’s light rail — called The Brown Line — that went right through Allentown. And, well, the tracks are still there; you might as well use them for something.

Here’s a nice historic wood-frame house with a restored exterior (and, well, the standard doctor’s-office-minimalist look inside) a short walk from Allentown’s suddenly booming main drag: (Bottlerocket, Inner Groove, Alla Famiglia, Leon’s Caribbean, Grim Wizard Coffee, etc.). With a functioning Brown Line, this location would be even more attractive.

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Photo: Courtesy of Zillow
335 Sweetbriar St.,
MT. WASHINGTON

For sale: 335 Sweetbriar St., $298,000. Mt. Washington.
So, you want to live on top of a mountain. You sure about this, kid? Because it’s great for like nine months of the year … and then there’s January and February. But most of the time, this is pretty much peak Pittsburgh living. Cherish it. That weird little water feature out front can go, though.

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Photo: Courtesy of Apartments.com
107 Dilworth St.
For rent: 107 Dilworth St., $1,100/month. Mt. Washington.
If a funny little house behind a white picket fence on Mt. Washington is your kind of piece of the American dream, well here it is. Mt. Washington is great — there’s million-dollar views just up the street, decent places to eat (though rarely on Grandview — that’s for the tourists), and most of what you need for daily life in walking distance. Just don’t get drunk and try to climb down the mountain “the short way.” That’s not how any of this works. When the rescue team rappels down the hillside to grab you, they will not be amused.

Hands off Rafah protest in East Liberty
21 images

Hands off Rafah protest in East Liberty

By Mars Johnson