Buying Here: Squirrel Hill

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The Gateway at Summerset apartments offer the convenience of urban living with the green space and amenities usually found in suburban communities, all built on what used to be a slag heap.

Six three-story buildings on Parkview Boulevard in Squirrel Hill comprise the rental section of the Summerset master plan community.

Nearby is The Summerset at Frick Park, a mixed residential area that includes high-end single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses. The development borders on Frick Park, giving the homes and apartments a suburban touch.

Turning off Browns Hill Road into the community, a visitor notices right away that Summerset is designed to fit in with the look of older neighborhoods within Squirrel Hill. It doesn't feel like a planned community. Professionally landscaped green spaces with gazebos and wide sidewalks run throughout the community and parking lots are neatly tucked away behind the apartments along with the refuse bins and major mechanics.

One-bedroom units have 786 square feet of living space. Two-bedroom units have 1,051 square feet or 1,258 square feet, with the larger option including a separate dining area. Rents range from $1,350 to $1,750 per month.

Features not normally associated with apartments are 9-foot-high ceilings, tall windows, full-sized washer and dryer in each unit and a custom paint option.

"Typically in rental communities there is very little opportunity to customize," said Stephanie Fuchs, regional property manager for Pennrose, the property management firm at Gateway. "And one of the growing trends on the West Coast we're bringing to the East Coast: custom-painted accent walls."

Choosing from a curated style guide with color palettes such as "Sunday in the Park" or "A Touch of Spice," residents can create an accent wall in the living area and bedroom to coordinate with furnishings.

The high ceilings create lots of wall space, which can be a great way for tenants to personalize their units. Residents are permitted to hang pictures, shelves, even bicycles, on the walls and the management company has two full-time technicians who can give advice or assist with heavier projects

Kitchens are equipped with GE Energy Star stainless-steel appliances including an electric stove/oven, over-the-range microwave with fan, refrigerator and dishwasher. Granite countertops and dark wood cabinets with brushed steel handles give a sleek modern line to the open-plan kitchen and breakfast bar. One detail that cooks and non-cooks alike will find extremely helpful is the number of wall plugs in the kitchen. It makes finding a new home for the Keurig coffee maker rather easy. Floors are "hardwood-style" vinyl in the kitchen and entryway.

For those who prefer eating al fresco or just want a nice place to read on a summer afternoon, each unit has a private patio (first floor) or deck (second and third floors) off the living area.

Going with the open concept design, the living room area varies in size from 13 by 13 feet in the one-bedroom apartments to 15 by 13 feet and 14 by 121/2 feet in the two-bedroom units. Wall-to-wall carpeting is standard for the living areas.

Depending on the unit, bedrooms range in size from 11 by 13 feet to 12 by 13 feet, with wall-to-wall carpeting and either a walk-in, walk-through or double closet.

The bathroom in the one-bedroom unit can be accessed from either the entry hall or bedroom. Each bedroom in the two-bedroom apartments has its own bathroom. There is also a soaker tub, an unexpected treat in a rental unit.

The open floor plan and modern finishes were meant to appeal to Gen Y but is finding an unexpected market in the Boomer generation.

"We're actually achieving a wide spectrum, young professionals and even some more mature, that are moving out of their homes and wanting to downsize," Ms. Fuchs said, adding that partnerships with the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC have brought some tenants.

The amenity package includes a 24-hour fitness club, heated outdoor swimming pool with cabanas and barbecue area, a half basketball court and a children's play area. For those who like to entertain, there is a furnished clubhouse with a fully equipped kitchen and fireplace that Gateway residents can reserve for private functions.

Location is a major amenity: Frick Park offers not only green space but also opportunities for biking and hiking. The Steel Valley Trail is just across the Homestead Grays Bridge. For the non-nature enthusiast, it is a quick trip to The Waterfront in Homestead, South Side or Downtown for shopping, nightlife or sporting events. Commuting to work is an easy 15-minute drive Downtown or a short 10-minute hop to Oakland's university and medical centers.

The community is pet friendly, but there are size limitations in the buildings.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, the leasing office is open most days from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Information: or 412-422-1144.


Lizabeth Gray: First Published June 1, 2013 4:00 AM


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