Spring 2018


Just over the 40th Street Bridge, another riverfront community is in the initial stages of a renaissance — Millvale.

The borough has a solid business district on North Avenue. Tazza D’Oro coffee shop just took a street-level space at the Bennett Station project, joining new neighbors Ton Pottery and old neighbors Jean-Marc Chatellier French Bakery and Pamela’s P&G Diner.

On the real estate front, the town has been buzzing about a trio of pre-Civil War-era townhouses that have been rehabbed on Stanton Avenue by architect Susan Tusick. The end unit at 524 Stanton Ave. is listed for $219,900 (MLS No. 1313199) with Racheallee Lacek and Todd Kilgore of Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty (412-255-2404 or www.piattsothebysrealty.com).

The price point is breaking new barriers for the borough.

“They are the first new construction rehabs in the borough in more than a decade,” Ms. Lacek said.

The real estate agent saw Lawrenceville explode after a benchmark sale several years ago. She said Millvale is still looking to record such a sale to set the tone for future development there.

“There is a movement happening over there, and I am so excited to be part of it.”

Ms. Lacek has focused a lot of her business on Downtown, Lawrenceville and other communities that have seen a renaissance as of late. With her pulse on the condo and new development market, she has lot to say about Millvale and what the community offers prospective buyers.

“Millvale is a walkable, bikeable and boatable community. People are missing the boat if they are not looking at Millvale,” she said.

The town and the neighboring community of Etna suffered severe flooding when Hurricane Ivan dumped more than 9 inches of rain on the region in September 2004. According to Ms. Lacek, people are still shy about building on the flats, so she thinks that the Stanton Avenue project is right on time.

The properties sit on the hill near St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, and out back offer scenic views of the Allegheny River and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC across the way.

The shotgun-style, woodframe-and-shingle units have been completely brought up to speed and to code. Gone is the brown asphalt siding and in its place is soft gray vinyl accented by new white vinyl windows and front doors with transoms. New roofs, porch and siding keep things cozy along with a new HVAC system and mechanical upgrades including central air-conditioning.

Each unit features three bedrooms and one bath with a reimagined open living concept. The main living spaces feature white cabinets, engineered hardwood floors and recessed lighting. The kitchens have neutral counter tops.

Upstairs, three bedrooms all have neutral carpet, large windows and views of the bustling streets below.

Millvale had a long haul back, but other businesses such as Draai Laag Brewing and Gristhouse have opened, attracting millennials and other transplants to visit the area. Millvale Riverfront Park and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail are also popular attractions.

Ms. Lacek sees the influx of new residents to the city as a bonus to the area, noting that Pittsburghers are notorious for not wanting to cross rivers.

“Now they are crossing bridges because the demographic is changing. Out-of-towners love to cross rivers, visit new neighborhoods and they don’t mind biking, driving or taking Uber to get there.”

The current real estate boom in Lawrenceville has driven the price of a two-bedroom, one-bath row house to $149,000 unrenovated and more than $350,000 after renovation.

Ms. Lacek is advising that anyone interested in a property in Millvale should focus on agents who deal with rehabs and new construction because they will have a line on a home before it’s listed.

“Very frequently homes will sell while still under construction and before they are listed as they did in Lawrenceville.”

Rosa Colucci: rcolucci@post-gazette.com.