Like any dynamic neighborhood, East Liberty is always evolving and changing. When we walk down the streets, we are pleased to see both familiar faces that have been around for decades as well as a growing number of newcomers who are just beginning to call the neighborhood home. Two of those newcomers are Darren Hollingsworth and Adrienne Haufler who recently kicked off construction with Module on a new, three-story home at 500 North Sheridan Avenue. Darren and Adrienne are both Pittsburgh transplants who are currently renting in Shadyside. We caught up with them to find out why they chose Module and East Liberty for their first home together.
Where you guys are from and what brought you to Pittsburgh?
Darren: I’m from New York, by way of many different localities, but I’ve been in Pittsburgh for six years. I moved here from Orlando for a job. I had never been to Pittsburgh before I took the job.
Adrienne: I’m originally from California, but I was living in New York for almost 20 years. Darren and I were dating long distance from Pittsburgh to New York for five years, and then the pandemic happened. Things in New York were crazy, and since I was able to work remotely, I came here. As time passed, I gave up my lease in New York, and we started thinking about buying.
What made you decide it was time?
Adrienne: During the pandemic, we realized we needed more space. We also wanted to get a dog, and our landlord has a lot of limitations on the kinds you can get. That initiated our search to buy.
Why did you decide to work with Module?
Adrienne: As we were looking at existing homes, we noticed that there were a lot of lots for sale, so then we thought that building could be a possibility. In our research, we came across Module and saw that they had a project listed for Sheridan Ave on their website. The sustainability aspect of Module really appealed to us— from the energy efficiency of the homes to the efficiencies with the construction process. They also give you a reasonable range of options for designing and customizing the interior and exterior to your preferences, but not so many that it’s overwhelming. We really liked the location too, because it’s adjacent to where we currently are, so we can still hit all our favorite places in the neighborhood easily.
If we look at the horizon, it’s going to be a dynamic neighborhood with lots of retail, diverse housing, and a strong community.
Why did you choose East Liberty and not another Pittsburgh neighborhood?
Darren: We like it here. The neighborhood is walkable to most of the things we want—coffee shops, grocery stores, etc.— and it’s not too far to get to everything else by bike, which is ideal for us. Availability also drove our choice. ELDI has access to some properties, which is good because we could find land that’s a little bit more affordable. East Liberty also has much of what Shadyside has—I don’t think that there’s much of a sacrifice from one to the other. East Liberty may be a more recent trend in development, but it’s rapid and should continue. If we look at the horizon, it’s going to be a dynamic neighborhood with lots of retail, diverse housing, and a strong community.
Adrienne: We’re really excited. We like the diversity of the neighborhood. It’s busy, but not too crowded, and it feels “neighborhoody”. We looked at other neighborhoods that—at least coming from New York—felt a little too dense because they didn’t have parks or green space. I’m enjoying moving from a city like New York to an easier city like Pittsburgh that’s smaller and more low key, and East Liberty really reflects that as well. We also appreciate the fact that it’s developed in some ways for people to access without cars.
Do you have any favorite spots in East Liberty?
Darren: We love the East Liberty Farmers’ Market, Mola, East End Brewing Company, and are excited for the new täkō in Bakery Square.
Adrienne: I moved during the pandemic, so I feel like I’m just beginning to get a feel for the city. It has been nice riding our bikes to get to know the different neighborhoods. But really, during the lockdown, it was the big three of Target, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods for us.
Darren: Yeah, if you live within walking distance of a Whole Foods, Target, and Trader Joe’s, then you’re living in the right place. Plus, a Home Depot—what more could you ask for?