Buying Here: Attached townhouse in Friendship features urban living
December 16, 2016 9:50 AM
The front porch of 8 Clarendon Place in Friendship.
By Rosa Colucci / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In the 1990s, Friendship was a neighborhood in transition. Suburban flight had left many of its large Victorian and turn-of-the-20th-century homes split into apartment buildings. By the late 1980s, over 70 percent of its housing stock had been turned into multiple units and many were not well-kept. Single-family homeowners hung on and waited for the tide to turn.
Changes began in the 1990s when neighbors banded together to form the Friendship Preservation Group and Friendship Development Associates. Marla Petersen was intrigued by one particular Friendship Development Associates project, the renovation of 10 connected townhouses on Clarendon Place with assistance from the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority. .
“I was looking for some rental properties. Friendship Development Associates told me about this little condominium plan. I didn’t think I could afford it,” she said.
She toured three available units and chose the one with the best view.
“There is an alley that runs perpendicular and you can look down that alley. It looks so quaint from that angle, like a European main street.”
Ms. Peterson, one of the first buyers, is sorry to be losing that view. To move closer to family, she has put 8 Clarendon Place on the market for $200,000 (MLS No. 1247656) with Tamara Groden of Coldwell Banker Real Estate (www.coldwellbankerhomes.com or 412-366-1600 ext. 546). It is open by appointment.
The townhouse, which was built in 1920, has two bedrooms, one full bathroom and several early 20th-century features. Tall, double oak doors with hefty iron locksets open to reveal the 15- by- 11-foot living room. The fireplace has its original mantel, a stone surround and a gas insert. The space opens to the 11- by- 11-foot dining room, which has a decorative fireplace. Both spaces have poplar veneer floors and 9-foot ceilings. A door leads to the 10- by- 9-foot galley kitchen.
The kitchen has oak cabinetry, a linoleum floor, a gas range, a dishwasher and a refrigerator with a bottom freezer. A large door leads to the back porch and a tiny backyard.
“I removed the grass and mulched over it to make more outdoor living space,” Ms. Petersen said.
The original staircase is painted a crisp white that highlights its solid newel post and banisters. A gray runner cuts down on noise and adds safety. At the top of the stairs is a bright skylight that adds a touch of modernity.
The full bathroom features a white porcelain pedestal sink, toilet and tub/shower unit. The vinyl tile is low-maintenance and the chrome fixtures and towel bars are a nice touch.
The bedrooms measure 14 by 13 feet and 12 by 8 feet. Both have closets and large windows and the larger bedroom has a decorative fireplace.
The laundry is in the basement. A newer gas furnace and central air-conditioning help keep utility bills low.
“I was on the budget for both and paid $60 each year-round,” Ms. Petersen said.
A large apartment building behind the row buffers the townhouses from wind and noise on Penn Avenue. Ms. Petersen said the neighborhood has continued to improve while she has lived there, with more owner-occupied housing and the Pittsburgh Glass Center right around the corner.
“The glass center brings lots of interesting people in, and the restaurants are just amazing,” she said.
Residents can pick up PAT buses on nearby Penn and Friendship avenues. Children’s Hospital is up the street and the East Liberty business district is just a mile away.
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