Couple looking to relocate to Cranberry from DC (Pittsburgh, Ross Township: apartments, rentals)
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My wife and I are fed up with the outrageous cost of living in Washington DC after 3 years and we're looking to head back to the Pittsburgh area. We are both from Westmoreland County (Greensburg and Latrobe), so we know about the sights and sounds in Pittsburgh, but we're really interested in what Cranberry has to offer. What are the good communities vs bad communities? Where are the good places to rent (*at least* 2 bedroom apts/townhouses/condos with washer/dryer hookups)? School district isn't a huge issue, as we aren't even thinking about children. My wife is an IT professional, so she's set... but I'm still finishing my degree in History and Education, so being within travel distance (45 min max?) to colleges would be a plus. We're also looking to buy a house eventually (maybe straight out of the shoot), but as we don't know the area, we don't know where to look and what the prices are in said regions. Commute isn't that big a deal (we've been living with DC traffic for these past few years, for gods sake). If you want any more info, please ask and I'll try to answer! Thanks, folks!
*edit* I should also mention that I've never in my life lived further than 15 minutes from a mall. I would LOVE to keep that streak alive! :3 I love window shopping at an unhealthy level, and I enjoy being able to go from one department store (i.e. walmart) to another (i.e. ANOTHER walmart) in the same evening if one of them doesn't have the product/right size that I'm looking for. I am a city boy, of that I am certain! LoL
Last edited by IILeiBlazeII; 09-22-2011 at 09:45 AM..
Reason: adding info
I would say you're a suburbs boy not necessarily city boy.
The interesting thing is Cranberry is actually not within 15 minutes of a standard indoor mall. It has some of the stores there, but it doesn't have the big anchor-type department stores (Macy's, Sears, JCPenney). There was a proposal to build a mall in Cranberry, but it fell through a couple years ago based on a funding gap as far as required road improvements. (Simon would not shell out any more money, and the state and township were at their limits.)
Now that said, it's probably no more than 20-25 minutes to the Mall at Robinson or Ross Park Mall. But, you might want to look closer if the 15 minute mark is important to you. Ross Park is the more upscale and has some stores that are not duplicated elsewhere in the region (Nordstrom, LL Bean, Crate and Barrel, etc.) but also includes your standard Macy's/Sears/Penney/etc. The Robinson area has Ikea and its own Costco (there's one in Cranberry too but not one near Ross Park Mall).
If you situated yourself in someplace between, somewhere like Franklin Park borough, you might be pretty equidistant to all these places. Although that doesn't actually help in driving between one and the other. But certain types of stores like Target (especially), Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Kohl's are notably more plentiful than just those mall areas. So it's not necessarily too far.
There should be rentals all through the area for townhouses or apartments, 2-3 BR. It's renting a single family house that's tough.
Why not consider Greensburg? You have a mall right there, has a great and quaint downtown area, and you get the same usual big box stores, food, shopping, new housing development, etc in nearby Hempfield Township as you would in Cranberry. True, Cranberry is a closer drive to Downtown Pittsburgh. I assume you still have family in the Greensburg/Latrobe area? Cranberry is home to Westinghouse and they are sure to have IT jobs. Anything else in particular intrigue you about the Cranberry area?
I am from Hempfield Township and I would pick that instead of Cranberry if I had to pick. Just personal preference, but Cranberry doesn't do a whole lot for me.
You might like McCandless, Franklin Park, Pine, or Marshall townships in the North Hills, which I think are all adjacent to each other. Suburban area, nice houses, green and leafy, reasonable commutes, and loads of shopping. Ross Park Mall would be about 10 minutes away. It's really gone through an upscale makeover the last few years, with Nordstrom, Tiffany, Louis Vitton, Burberry, Kate Spade, Juicy Coutoure, Crate & Barrel, LL Bean, Omega, and many other new retailers moving in. Your cost of living compared with DC would be a lot lower and you could probably get a pretty nice house compared to what you have in DC for less money. Much better quality of life here. I don't blame you for moving back, lots of people are doing it.
There's a lot in play between which college you plan to attend, where the wife will end up working, and being close to shopping. If you can better prioritize things, we can make better suggestions. I suppose Cranberry could work, but not if the wife ends up working somewhere like Canonsburg. That's an awful 45 minute commute to Pitt for classes, too, for example.
If you want to be within 15 minutes of a mall and within 45 minutes of Pitt, then Cranberry is a bit too far out to be reliable. Ross Township is where Ross Park Mall is, which is the best mall in the Pittsburgh area, and it's no more than 30 minutes from Pitt, even with traffic. It's not as newly-developed as Cranberry, having been developed mostly during the 1970's and 1980's, but it's still pretty new compared to most suburbs close to the Pittsburgh city limits, and there are plenty of apartments there, from what I can tell. If you have to have something built during the 1990's or more recently, then give McCandless a look. It's just north of Ross Township, and was developed primarily during the 1980's and 1990's.
I would say you're a suburbs boy not necessarily city boy.
An accurate assessment! :3 I grew up in Metro Detroit (Pontiac/Waterford to be precise) and I toiled on the border of Greensburg and Latrobe for 8 years. WAAAAAAAAY too slow for me. Moving to DC is more our scene, but its just too expensive for us to stay. We want to be able to buy a house, not rent apartments for the rest of our lives. Pittsburgh is at least more happening than good ol' Latrobe (high).
We really don't want to go back to Westmoreland if we can avoid it... and the big problem is we want to keep our distance from our families (located currently in Latrobe and Jeannette) without having to drive 3 1/2 hours to visit. We just want a bit of privacy to be able to... well.. nest.
The reason we're looking at Cranberry is... well... from what we've seen (a limited assessment at best) it seems... nice. A good fit for us. Greg had it right - we're suburbanites through and through. We had a good friend who grew up in Mars and it seems like there's a ton of shopping, but Mars also appears to be VERY expensive. Basically, we expect to have (on the low end) a combined income of around $75,000 by the time we're looking to actually move (over the summer). We're currently living on about $55,000 and live in an apartment that's costing us around $1500/month including utilities. Combined with the increased cost of, well, EVERYTHING down here, that just ain't cutting it.
As far as commutes, it shouldn't be an issue, really. The wife drives an hour (or more) there and the same back, and I drive 45 minutes in the morning for school. we're more interested in being in an awesome place with lots of things to do during the evenings and weekends. We like to eat out, we like to watch sports, we like to go to the theatre, we like to shop.
We don't like clubbing, barhopping, partying... those sorts of things. I think we managed to get all of that out of our system in our early 20's. LoL
Ross Township and Franklin Park sound interesting right off the bat... and I think my mall comment was a little melodramatic - it really isn't a must-have... but something that would simply be *nice*. Basically a safe, clean, fun and entertaining location is way more important than being right on top of Pitts.
Mars is effectively right next to Cranberry; nearly all of its shopping is in Cranberry (plus a little in Adams Township which is technically in between them but has a Mars address; a lot of people actually live in Adams rather than Mars borough itself). Price ranges are all over in those places.
I get the being close but not too close to the family, makes perfect sense to me. You will have to watch a bit, though. If your target is to be significantly under the $1500 mark, you won't have the full run of everywhere in the area, all the newest type places, etc. You say that's including utils? That's not really super expensive IMO, depending of course upon what sort of environment that's in. But you should find stuff in all kinds of price ranges, especially if you settle for 2BR apartments to start.
You may want to consider being closer to the city though, for added variety in things to do over the weekend. We certainly have no problem going into the city from here (I live near Cranberry, but over the line in Beaver County) but we might do more if it were closer. We go back and forth on the plusses and minuses. Right now we're enjoying the back yard that makes it look like we live in the country (as we kind of do) and I'm working on a new patio out there.
If by theatre you mean live you're going to find that in the city mainly. If by theatre you mean movies, Cranberry and actually Ross are neither the best choice because they've been overdue for a new, modern movie complex.
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