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Children's Hospital pediatrician's idea brings unique housing to Morningside

| Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 12:33 a.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
In Morningside, rental property is being constructed by developer urbanHAUS as a solar project, Friday, September 27, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
In Morningside, rental property is being constructed by developer urbanHAUS as a solar project, Friday, September 27, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
In Morningside, rental property is being constructed by developer urbanHAUS as a solar project, Friday, September 27, 2013.

Orooj Fasiuddin is trying to open the door to a new type of housing in Pittsburgh.

The Children's Hospital pediatrician is completing construction, under her company urbanHAUS, on what might be Pittsburgh's first modular-solar home on a vacant lot in the city's Morningside neighborhood.

She found retro-fitted homes on North St. Clair Street in Highland Park, which were not modular construction; solar-powered homes at Riverside Mews in the South Side; and homes built using modular construction at Croghan's Edge in Lawrenceville.

“There are not a lot of solar or modular homes in Pittsburgh, and not one that combines modular and solar that I know of,” said Linda Metropulos, director of housing and neighborhood development for nonprofit Action-Housing Inc.

“The more collective diversity in housing we have, the better. And there are thousands of infill or vacant lots in the city where affordable housing can be built,” she said.

Fasiuddin plans to rent the house at 7200 Butler St. One unit, with 945 square feet, will contain two bedrooms and rent for $1,450 plus utilities. The other, a 670-square-foot, one-bedroom unit, will rent for $800 including utilities, she said. Both will have a full bath, kitchen, and living/dining room. The two-bedroom unit will have one indoor parking space.

Both units will be ready on Nov. 1, she said.

She was unable to list the cost to build the home because she is awaiting cost estimates from her builder, Ecocraft-homes. Financing is through a local bank.

“I focused on using local resources, not only for labor, but all the materials as well. I believe in small-house concept, and each project is intentionally small for the one- to three-person household,” she said.

Fasiuddin moved to Pittsburgh nine years ago to work at Children's. This is her first housing project, she said.

“I, like many others, fell in love with Pittsburgh and wanted to invest in the community. I have a passion for real estate and design, so starting urbanHAUS is what I did.”

She wants to build more modular-solar homes in the city but has not chosen lots.

Sam Spatter is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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