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

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

You'll have to work hard to make it through the 'Burgh Bucket List — but every entry is more than worth the effort.
Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu came to Pittsburgh craving the California sun. Nearly a dozen years later, he shares a rare glimpse of the relationships he developed here — with his God, the Steelers Nation and the city he and his family now call home. One thing is certain: he never wants to leave.
Granting the Perfect Wish

Granting the Perfect Wish

By fulfilling the wish of a 12-year-old boy, PittGirl learns that you don't always need a lot of money to grant the perfect wish.
Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Try an updated take on traditional trends with these winter must-haves for men.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Two Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company plans to install the new cameras, which should provide high-definition of the Hays eagles.
Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

The city hopes that offering free parking to shoppers on some of the busiest commercial days of the year will give small businesses a lift.
Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

Photo Gallery: Andy Warhol Bridge Yarn Bombing Wins Public Art Award

The bridge was covered in more than 3,000 feet of colorful, hand-knit blankets in honor of the late pop artist’s 85th birthday.
Pittsburgh-Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Pittsburgh-Area Native Advances to Next Round on ‘The Voice’

Chris Jamison, 20, of Ross Township, is a 2012 graduate of North Hills High School.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

Bucket List: 25 Don't-Miss Experiences for the Yinzer in All of Us

You'll have to work hard to make it through the 'Burgh Bucket List — but every entry is more than worth the effort.
Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Finally Home: How Pittsburgh Won Over Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu came to Pittsburgh craving the California sun. Nearly a dozen years later, he shares a rare glimpse of the relationships he developed here — with his God, the Steelers Nation and the city he and his family now call home. One thing is certain: he never wants to leave.
Granting the Perfect Wish

Granting the Perfect Wish

By fulfilling the wish of a 12-year-old boy, PittGirl learns that you don't always need a lot of money to grant the perfect wish.
Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Men's Winter Fashion: Season for Swagger

Try an updated take on traditional trends with these winter must-haves for men.
Review: Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

Review: Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar

Farm-to-table restaurant Eighty Acres brings food prepared with finesse to Plum.
Pittsburgh's Top 10: November 2014

Pittsburgh's Top 10: November 2014

Here are the 10 best things to do in Pittsburgh this month.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags