Island Gem

With its lush greenery, privacy and view of the water, Washington's Landing is resort-like living at its best.



Photos by Becky Thurner Braddock

With its lush greenery, privacy and view of the water, Washington’s Landing is resort-like living at its best.

There is a balcony off the third-floor bedroom suite of this chic townhouse at Washington’s Landing, but it couldn’t be more private. Fully covered by a gently sloping roof, it has walls on three sides, leaving just one side open to the elements. The view is dominated by the Allegheny River, which seems close enough to touch.

Two stories below, a sprawling wooden deck almost begs for a party. Just beyond the deck, a walking path along the river’s edge is lined by lush greenery. On a spring afternoon, the chirping of birds fills the air. You could easily believe, if you sat on that upstairs balcony with your morning coffee or on that downstairs deck with a pre-dinner glass of wine, that you were nestled in a sleepy boating town on the New England coast.

But step toward the railing and glance along the Allegheny River to your right. The gleaming office towers of downtown seem a stone’s throw away, a stunning contrast to the otherwise laid-back vibe. Look to your left, and the 31st Street Bridge arches over the water, a steel-and-concrete reminder that this is the City of Bridges.

Welcome to Washington’s Landing, a multi-use development that combines traditional architecture and a vacation vibe with a central city location.

Of course, this bit of land wasn’t always so scenic. Throughout the 1800s, back when it was known as Herr’s Island, it was home to stockyards, rendering plants and factories. When those businesses eventually left, a brownfield site remained—too tainted to be habitable. Throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, plans for reclaiming the island were repeatedly formed and then abandoned. Eventually the project came together, and the island was reborn. It’s a modern success story with a nod to history—in 1987, the island was renamed Washington’s Landing because George Washington is believed to have slept there in 1753 after his raft capsized in the river. Nearly 250 years later in the 1990s, Montgomery & Rust began building the townhouse community.

The area now includes things Gen. Washington wouldn’t have imagined: not just homes and office space, but tennis courts, a full-service marina, Redfin Blues restaurant and Three Rivers Rowing, which rents boats and kayaks for a lazy afternoon—or a serious workout—on the river.

Pittsburgh is a study in contrasts, which might explain why visitors are so often surprised by it. In many other American cities, residents must choose either the convenience of an urban environment or the peace of a lush, green one. In Pittsburgh, you can have speedy access to both if your location is as strategic as this.

When you enter the Washington’s Landing complex, it feels as though you’re off the beaten path. And yet it’s almost literally on busy Route 28, close to the vibrant energy of the Strip District and Lawrenceville, and just a short drive to the mellow horse farms of the North Hills. 

Of course, this sweet location isn’t inexpensive. Condo townhomes here are selling in the half-million-dollar range, especially if the owners have invested in upgrades like granite countertops and stained-glass windows.

In addition to the killer view and über-private third-floor balcony, this particular three-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath unit has sleek cherrywood floors, a gas fireplace, a custom steam shower and a jet-spray tub. A custom-made billiards table in the downstairs game room completes the picture. For those keeping score, maintenance fees for this condo unit are $240 per month, and taxes are just more than $7,000 annually.

The owner, a native Pittsburgher, splits his time between here and California. Because his career increasingly keeps him on the West Coast, he decided to put the home up for sale. But he’s been savoring afternoons overlooking the Allegheny, enjoying the sunshine and city views. Saying goodbye to this home—and its to-die-for location—will no doubt be bittersweet.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Destined to be a Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins 'Christmas Vacation' Parody Video

Destined to be a Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins 'Christmas Vacation' Parody Video

Evegeni Malkin is priceless at the end.
This Weekend: Chris Jamison & the Steelers, Pens & Ugly Sweaters, Mayor Undercover

This Weekend: Chris Jamison & the Steelers, Pens & Ugly Sweaters, Mayor Undercover

Some cool things to watch out for this weekend in the ’Burgh.
#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

Once in a while, no good deed goes unpunished.
Now Online: Two New Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Now Online: Two New Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company has installed the new cameras, which provide sharper images of the Hays eagles.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

The Penguin winger fits in easily with the team, thanks to his infectious personality and his mad dedication to confounding opposing goaltenders.
Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

This three-story home melds all of the comforts of home with the sleek look and efficiency of industrial design.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags