This condo in Oakland is perfect for a doctor, student or retiree

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ILast week I wrote about how to find homes for sale for less than $200,000 in Pittsburgh’s competitive real estate market, like this four-bedroom Victorian that was quickly contracted to Brighton Heights, could still be done.

This week’s Hot Property is another affordable gem, but it’s a rather swanky condominium in Oakland’s Hampton Hall.

Located at 166 N. Dithridge St., the building erected in 1928 was originally designed as an apartment building by architect HG Hodgkins. It features a Tudor style with raw wood details on its elaborate stone exterior. A large garden surrounds the U-shaped building, which has 75 units spread over five floors.

Unit 2B is a large studio with 639 square feet of living space. Listed for $135,000 (MLS # 1542862, Meg Alarcon, Howard Hanna Real Estate, howardhanna.com), it is open by appointment.

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Among the historic details of the building are the original elevators, which still retain their brass doors. Antique tiles from Nemadji Tile & Pottery Company line the entire lobby and foyer floors. (Located in Moose Lake, Minnesota, the company opened in 1923 and became known for its tiles and pottery created from the rich clay of the nearby Nemadji River.)

The colorful floor, with shades of red, green and gold, is interspersed with tiles marked with charming figures and images. This, among several other features of the building, led to Hampton Hall being designated a historic place by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in 1985.

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Dr. Beth Oczypok has been the only resident of Unit 2B for 13 years. Seeing the unit as a cheaper and safer alternative to student housing, she says her parents purchased the space for her when she attended the University of Pittsburgh.

“I am one of five children in the family. We had all been to Oakland Catholic and my parents always said they should buy in Oakland,” says Oczypok. “I was in Pitt for two years looking for off-campus housing when my mom and dad said, ‘Maybe it’s a good time to buy. “”

It turned out to be a good decision. Oczypok earned his undergraduate degree and later earned his doctorate at the university’s medical school. After her residency at the local Department of Veterans Affairs hospital system, she decided to continue practicing in Pittsburgh.

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Today, Oczypok says her first impression of the unit, despite the lobby’s warm and inviting lobby, still makes her laugh.

“We went in to look at it and I was a little unsure because the person who lived there before me had painted all the ceilings black and the walls were really weird colors,” she says. “We heard he was a nurse and worked night shifts, so he wanted everything to be really dark inside.”

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The condo also comes with an assigned parking space in a gated lot, a bonus that has given Oczypok’s safety-conscious parents peace of mind. Plus, the unit’s monthly maintenance fee of $432 covers maintenance of the building and common areas, as well as water, sewer, gas, and electricity.

Oczypok says his design-savvy mother oversaw the unit’s renovations, which included a top-to-bottom paint job, new countertops, a new bathroom vanity and kitchen appliances.

Although listed as a studio, the space has a separation between the living room and the dining room which allows the dining room to potentially be used as a bedroom.

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The open-plan kitchen is also useful for entertaining. “I hosted a lot; we had parties all the time. It’s a small space, but we made it work,” Oczypok notes. There is also a roof terrace and a garden where the doctor and his friends would admire the incredible sunsets.

Oczypok notes that the building’s demographics include a mix of students, young professionals, and older residents who have downsized. She notes that the space’s location and amenities could make it attractive to a number of buyers.

“It’s convenient for universities, restaurants, museums, it’s great. There is a social committee now, they organize social events,” she says. “I have a lot of good memories.”

Hot Property is an inside look at unique and historic homes on the market. Each week, Hot Property goes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh-area home. And four times a year, Hot Property provides an in-depth look at the area’s real estate market in Pittsburgh Magazine HOME, tracking home prices and sales and detailing where hot properties are located. Rosa Colucci can be reached at [email protected].

On: Oakland

Population: 8,663

Planes, trains and automobiles: 23 minutes from the airport. Daily transport via Port Authority. Street parking, bike paths, carpooling.

Schools: Pittsburgh Public Schools (pghschools.org). Magnet, neighborhood and CAPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts) available.

District: Divided into four areas – North, South, West, and Central – Oakland is home to the largest cluster of nonprofit organizations within the Pittsburgh city limits, including the University of Pittsburgh, hospitals, and several historic churches. The main campus of the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Music Hall, and the Phipps Conservatory are national attractions anchoring the entrance to Schenley Park, one of the city’s gems. A vibrant restaurant scene exists in several different business districts, including North Craig Street, Fifth, Forbes and Center Avenues.

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