Say Cheese! Celebrating National Pizza Day

Tomorrow’s National Pizza Day and we’re celebrating the only way we know how—with a slice (or four), of course!


Pizza… Where would we be without that holy trinity of dough, cheese, and tomato sauce? If the tomato hadn’t been introduced to Naples in the 16th century, we might very well know the answer to that question.

Luckily, we don’t have to speculate. Since the addition of tomatoes to Italian flatbread, the history of pizza has only grown more colorful—literally! As legend has it, pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created the first Pizza Margherita in 1889 to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. The pizza was garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to represent the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. Whether fact or fiction, it is undoubtedly a delicious tale.

Pizza soon made its way across the pond in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi established America’s first pizzeria, Lombardi’s, in New York City. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Today, pizza is so celebrated that it’s been awarded its own national holiday! Fortunately, there are countless places to grab a slice in the East End and Shadyside, many of which are within walking distance from Franklin West apartments!

In fact, if you take a short stroll from Centre Avenue to S. Highland Avenue, you’ll see that there are no fewer than five restaurants that primarily serve pizza, and each is different!

Here are a few to try if you haven’t already:

Slice on Broadway
Pizza Taglio
Capri Pizza
Vento’s Pizza
Pizza Parma
Pizza Perfectta

If you travel just a few blocks over to the Western end of Shadyside on Walnut Street, you’ll find several more top-notch pizza places, from Mercurio’s to Shady Grove and likely many more spots in between!

However you celebrate, we hope you find a slice that makes you smile!

Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History 2018: Free Museum Sundays & Much More

Pittsburgh’s contagious creativity is fed by its renowned cultural institutions, such as the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.

As the snow flies, it’s good to be inside, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History just made it a bit easier. Throughout the year of 2018, the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History will be free to the public the third Sunday of each month.

If you’ve never visited the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), it’s as expansive as it is inspiring. The art museum takes visitors through a comprehensive timeline, from ancient sculpture to contemporary installations. The permanent collection stars more than 30,000 visual art objects, from painting and sculpture to film and digital imagery.

Beyond touring the museum’s permanent collection, here are a few current exhibits you can explore this winter:

William Henry Fox Talbot & the Promise of Photography: This is the largest US exhibition of Talbot’s photography in the last 15 years and, due to the fragile nature of the photographs, exhibitions of Talbot’s work are rare.  Don’t delay, this first-ever opportunity to see these photographs will end on February 11, 2018.

Bradford Young: REkGONIZE: Through a three-channel video installation and a meditation on photography, memory, and movement, cinematographer Bradford Young finds inspiration in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood. During the early 20th Century Great Migration, African American culture and artistic development flourished in the Hill District, inspiring August Wilson, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Errol Garner, and many others. On display until March 4, this unique installation is not one to be missed!

Hot Metal Modern: Design in Pittsburgh and Beyond: On display through April 1, Hot Metal Modern is a showcase of great design objects from around Pittsburgh, and the stories of innovation and industry behind them.

Looking for an evening out that is a little different from the norm?  Well, you might want to put “Third Thursdays” on your radar. On February 15, not only will CMOA feature Valentine’s Day-focused fun, all CMOA exhibitions and collection galleries will be open to falling in love with all night long. This is not a “one-off.” On the third Thursday of every month, CMOA keeps the art galleries open late, turns up the volume, and welcomes partners throughout the city to create exciting one-of-a-kind programs. Explore the exhibitions, enjoy music, indulge in a late-night café menu, and more! Don’t forget to register online and get your tickets in advance!

To fully experience the breadth and diversity of the world-renowned Carnegie Museums, journey next door to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to discover an epic collection of artifacts, objects, and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity.

The museum is a marvel of halls ranging from botany and birds to African and Arctic wildlife to minerals, gems, and geology to prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs. “Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures.”

As you explore, check out the traveling exhibition Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line!, which explores the struggle of Indigenous leadership to protect water, land, and our collective future. In Pittsburgh through March 28, the House of Tears Carvers and members of the Lummi Nation have traveled across North America with a hand-carved totem pole to raise awareness about threats to the environment and public health for the past five years.

There is truly something awe-inspiring for everyone. Within a stone’s throw of Franklin West’s Shadyside apartments, and perhaps on your way home from work or school, the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History in Oakland are worth a pit-stop (hey, on weekdays after 3 pm, admission is half-price!). After you’ve been to these once, we’re sure you’ll want to become a member so that you can enjoy free admission to all of the Carnegie Museums—plus, the Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum—year round!

We Proudly Support Veterans’ Place

Franklin West, Inc. is proud to support the work of Veterans’ Place.

On December 20th, the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (AAMP)—of which Franklin West, Inc. is an executive board member—presented Veteran’ Place with a contribution of continuing support for anticipated extensive facility renovations, including a new class rooms, laundry facilities,  and an expanded food bank area.

Veterans’ Place is located on Washington Blvd., only a few blocks away from Franklin West’s Shadyside office. They offer a wide array of services dedicated to addressing issues that our veterans face in the Pittsburgh region, including a day program, a transitional housing program, and an employment program.

Franklin West, Inc. also made a donation yesterday, remembering some of our family of employees and friends who proudly served.

Mr. Franklin A. West (U.S. Army)

Mr. John M . Boering (U.S. Air Force)

Mr. Alvin P. “Butch” Lauer (U.S. Army)

Mr. Carl E. Mills (U.S. Air Force)

Mr. Bernard M. McGivern II (U.S. Navy)

Mrs. Gene McNamee Kincaid (U.S. Marine Corps)

Franklin West hopes that these contributions aid the mission of Veterans’ Place in ending homelessness among Pittsburgh veterans.

The holidays can be very difficult for veterans, for those interested in supporting Veterans’ Place, please visit their site here.

Happy Holidays from Franklin West, Inc.

Shop Local: Small Business Saturday in Shadyside

Black Friday gets all the press this time of year. Promotions flood emails and social channels.

At Franklin West Inc., we believe in the importance of raising up local small businesses. So, please join us in sending love to and supporting these neighborhood stops and shops, which bring so much life to the East End community. If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll also see these places take center stage on our page, as we highlight the very best Shadyside’s East End has to offer.

Let’s take a look at some of restaurants and shops that are so near and dear to our hearts.


Located on S. Highland Ave, Noodlehead is truly a Pittsburgh hot-spot for — you guessed it — noodles! They specialize in dishes inspired by the street markets of Thailand, with a beautiful atmosphere to match. After your first visit, we think you’ll be hooked!

If you’re interested in having a drink with your meal, we suggest bringing a bottle along since Noodlehead is BYOB. For more information and a look at their tasty menu, visit their website here.


Right next to Noodlehead is Penhollows, a locally owned and operated shop filled with an ever-changing collection of home furnishings and books — new and rare. Here you’ll find both vintage treasures as well as new items as they celebrate the works of local artists and writers.

Penhollows also incorporates a full Interior Design Center in the shop to help customers create the perfect environment in their home. Read more about the services and how to schedule an appointment here.

If you have an eye for design, this charismatic shop, is the perfect place for you. Truly a gem for our residences looking to add local charm to their home!

Pizza Perfectta

If you continue strolling down S. Highland Ave, you’ll soon see Pizza Perfectta. If a slice of pizza is what you’re craving, skip the large chains, and stop in here. They’ve been serving unique tastes, warm eats, and fresh bites to the community for over 25 years.

Pizza Perfectta is another local favorite, with loyal patronage and love from the neighborhood. On days when you’re set to stay inside, or if you’re ordering food on the fly, you can even order online! You can check out their extensive menu here.

Alex’s East End Floral Shoppe

Alex began selling flowers in 1983 as a street corner vendor in Oakland. Today, he owns and operates his store on Shady Ave, which is now a full service florist. What a flower-filled journey!

In search of personalized gifts or planning an event? Alex’s trusted staff will help you pick out the perfect flower arrangements and flower bouquets for any occasion, big and small. Their wedding bouquets and wedding arrangements have won numerous awards from WeddingWire! Quite the shining accolade.

Since his start 34 years ago, Alex’s flower shop has expanded to include plants, balloons, fruit, munch and gourmet baskets. See some of his shop’s stunning arrangements here.

Four Winds Gallery

On Walnut Street, you’ll find the sublime, eye-catching designs inside Four Winds Gallery. Established in 1974, this gallery offers exceptional Southwestern Native American materials — both historic items and pieces by contemporary artists.

These materials range from photographs from the Edward S. Curtis Estate to jewelry, pottery, paintings, weavings, folk art, and more. This is merely skimming the surface of the renowned and one-of-a-kind items you can find in Four Winds Gallery. To truly get a sense of the breadth of this gallery, visit their site here.

This Small Business Saturday, it’s not just us celebrating small businesses, but the whole Shadyside community, as well! Stop by the Holiday Pop Up Shop on Walnut Street and shop specials all day long at a number of wonderful businesses.

We are so thankful to be a part of such a vibrant and thriving community. Let us all continue to support these locally-owned shops, restaurants, and galleries, for they are truly what make Shadyside’s East End so spectacular.

Shop local this holiday season.

Franklin West Apartments: A Tour Down Shady Avenue

If you know Shadyside, Pittsburgh, you know it’s stately, Victorian homes, tree-lined streets, unique shops, amazing restaurants, and bustling nightlife. What you may not know, is that in the early 1960s, parts of Shadyside were in disarray. With an abundance of neglected homes,  Millionaire’s Row and the surrounding area suffered at the rise of suburban development and mass-produced housing.

Enter: Franklin “Frank” West Jr.

Trained in architecture at Carnegie Tech and city planning at Yale, Frank West saw the potential of Shadyside’s historic houses and location. As highlighted in 2017 edition of Shady Ave Magazine, Frank West was a “pioneer in preservation” and “urban visionary,” raising Shadyside up to be the renowned neighborhood that it is today.

More than 50 years ago, Frank bought his first investment property on Shady Avenue and his vision for building a company that stands the test of time lives on. Today, Franklin West Inc. is the proud steward of 68 buildings in Shadyside—from historical houses with original architecture and details intact to contemporary loft-style apartments.

Let’s take a stroll down Shady Avenue and explore a few of these buildings we hold so dear.

272 Shady Avenue

Built in 1888, 272 Shady Ave was the home to Alfred Hunt, the founder and president of Pittsburgh Reduction Company (now ALCOA). Purchased in 1965, it is now the offices of Franklin West, Inc. This beautiful landmark serves as a testament to the life and history of a building—beyond its four walls—to those who lived and worked inside over the years.  Not only are we seeking to preserve the architecture, but the living history of the community.

513 & 517 Shady Avenue

513 and 517 Shady Ave were Frank West’s first and second purchases. Built approximately in 1877, the two buildings were constructed as mirror images of each other. Their mansard roofs, dormer windows, and cornices supporting decorative brackets reflect the Second Empire Style that was very popular at the time. Standing side-by-side one another, these three-story brick houses are aptly referred to as the “sister” buildings.

260 Shady Avenue

Built in 1874, 260 Shady Ave was the once home to James Hemphill, a partner of Alfred Hunt. Referred to as “the maker of Pittsburgh” by Henry Clay Frick, Hemphill went on to manufacture one of the first aluminum mills for Pittsburgh. Another glowing example of Second Empire Style, this building has been described as “an example of Pittsburgh’s livable excellence” in the 2012 edition of WHIRL.

500 & 512 Shady Avenue

500 Shady Ave was first built in 1888 for a prominent railroader, James D. Layng, and has had several distinguished owners since. In 1979, Ronald McDonald House Charities bought the Queen Anne Victorian, serving as temporary housing for families with children being treated at the Children’s Hospital. The charity purchased its neighbor, 512 Shady Avenue, 12 years later.

Anticipating the completion of new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the charities moved to Lawrenceville in 2008. As noted in Pop City, Franklin West, Inc. purchased and renovated these properties soon after. Both buildings boast contemporary units, while retaining their historic charm and character.

521 Shady Avenue

Here we end our tour at 521 Shady Ave, built in 2008. Contrasting the renovated Victorian properties, 521 Shady Ave is a modern marvel. You’ll also notice a sculpture situated outside the property. Entitled “The Walk,” the sculpture was created as a memorial to Frank West by his cousin and Pittsburgh sculptor, Jim West.

“In discussing the sculpture’s meaning, James West says that “Franklin West left a great legacy: the balance between the past, present and future… He always looked at the impact upon the present day and of the future while keeping traditions alive.”

As Franklin West, Inc. goes into its second fifty years of development, renovation and preservation, what stories of the neighborhood will it have to preserve and share for future generations?

East Liberty: Pittsburgh’s Shining Star

Have you heard the news?

TIME Magazine has just listed East Liberty as the #1 coolest neighborhood (shared with Lawrenceville) in America right now! Read the article here.

We’re thrilled that the rest of the country is seeing what we’ve known for 50 years. Straddling Shadyside and East Liberty, Franklin West, Inc. has always been a active participant in the neighborhoods we call home. In fact, Frank West was a founding member and avid supporter in the Shadyside Action Coalition and the East Liberty Quarter Chamber of Commerce.

Believing strongly in the importance of preservation of history, architecture, and the character of a community as being a force for positive economic development from within, Frank West was also a founder of the East Liberty Valley Historical Society.

Speaking of The Historical Society, tonight (October 6th at 7:30 pm) marks the second lecture of The Society’s Fall 2017 series. Kenneth Kobus, photographer and author of Steel and Railroad History, will present Allegheny Valley: Its Industries and Railroads.

These enlightening First Friday lectures are free and open to the public, and aim to enrich the lives of the community. Make sure to follow The Society’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date with local events and educational articles published.

To this day, we strongly support these local grassroots organizations. Their continued efforts are a big reason why others are seeing what we already know. We think it’s really cool, too!

We urge all those who live, work, and play in any of Pittsburgh’s many cool neighborhoods to take pride in being a part of the preservation of local charm!

219 Carron Street || Apartment Tour & Open House

It’s a celebration!

We’re inviting everyone to an open house this Sunday, October 1st, for a tour of our latest residences at 219 Carron Street. Join us from 11am to 3pm for a tour of these stunning apartments, accompanied by cookies, cider, and coffee! All are welcome.

Perfectly situated in the heart of Shadyside’s East End, this new building is just a hop, skip, and jump from S. Highland Ave. Residents will have a quick walk to the neighborhood’s favorite restaurants, retail shops, and cafes, such as Mad Mex, Noodlehead, Casbah, Adda Coffee & Teahouse, Penhollows, and Urban Tap, and more! Not to mention, being a short distance from Whole Foods, Market District, and Trader Joe’s.

Each one of the one-bedroom and loft-style apartments features hardwood floors, high ceilings, large windows, and an open kitchen with a stainless steel refrigerator, range, microwave and dishwasher. In the loft-style apartments, bedrooms are innovatively partitioned with a charming windowed wall and an adjustable, contemporary screen. A private washer and dryer are also among these apartments’ convenient features. Check out photos of the spacious (and naturally-sunlit) rooms here!  

The building also stars the internationally-acclaimed work of local great, Romare Bearden, providing tenants with a unique touch of personality and culture.

Come by between 11am and 3pm on Sunday, October 1st to see all this building has to offer! 

Meet us at the building below. Hope to see you there!

Shadyside Art Festival

For 21 years now, Shadyside has been home to the annual “Art Festival on Walnut Street”, a celebration of local artists, crafters, and much more. On Saturday, August 29th from 10am to 7pm and Sunday, August 30th, from 10am to 5pm, you can experience one of the top art shows in Pennsylvania — free to the public!

Organized by Howard Alan Events and the American Craft Endeavor, the festival of fine art hosts 140 artists, all of whom create their own, hand-made artwork. Now is your chance to speak to them, exploring their inspiration and passions.

After leaving his career as a chiropractor, Howard Alan began working in retail, featuring 40-50 artists and crafters on consignment in his store. To gain more foot traffic, Howard positioned a large, lovable gorilla statue outside of the store, adding some humor with a sign stating that gorilla was running for Mayor. Let’s just say, the current Mayor was not pleased and Howard got into a bit of trouble… But, nothing is without a lesson learned, and from this, Howard realized that he had a real knack for advertising and public relations. Thus, Howard Alan Events was born — a public relations and advertising agency specializing in art show promotions.

Fast forward to today, where Howard runs 40 annual juried art shows and annual craft shows across the country, from Pittsburgh to Aspen. These popular outdoor festivals, like the one in Shadyside this weekend, are considered some of the top art shows in the country. All the more reason to add the The Art Festival on Walnut to your must-see list of summer fun!

A wide array of artwork will be present, from paintings, pottery, and photography to jewelry, woodworking, and sculpture. Franklin West Inc. is an avid supporter of the arts in its many forms, and are delighted that such an event is held so close to many of our apartments. For more information, and to see some of the wondrous art that will be on display, visit the event site here.

We hope to see you there!

Embark on a Porter Brewery Tour!

Looking for a break from your normal weekend go-tos? Love a good libation with friends? Not not just any ol’ drink, but an effervescent brew? Then come celebrate Pittsburgh’s local craft beer culture with the Porter Brewery tours! You’ll get a new taste of the city by sampling pints at 3 amazing local breweries over a course of 3 hours. Breweries include, Dancing Gnome, Grist House, East End, and more!

Porter Brewery offers tours every Saturday and Sunday, stopping at 3 different renowned breweries. The price of your tour ticket includes about a pint of beer at each stop, though each guest is welcome to purchase additional beer by the pint or the growler. Three stops, three pints, three hours — looks like 3 is the magic number!

Tours also include water and popcorn on the bus, so you can munch between breweries and stay hydrated. But, if you’re still feeling hungry after you exit the disembark the beer bus, you’re in the luck — you’ll be dropped off right outside either the Ace Hotel, home to the Whitfield, or James Street Gastropub.

Interested in a weekend brewery tour? Here’s some important information to know:

Saturday tour agenda is:
– Dancing Gnome in Sharpsburg
– Couch Brewery in Larimer
– Full Pint in Lawrenceville
Pick-up and drop-off point is James Street Gastropub

Sunday tour agenda is:
– Dancing Gnome in Sharpsburg
– Grist House in Millvale
– East End in Larimer
Pick-up and drop-off point is Ace Hotel

Some important notes from Porter Brewery tours:
– Arrive at the bus 10 minutes early to check in, find a seat, and get ready for great beer.
– Cancellations or changes must be made 24 hours before the tour.
– Bring your ID!
– There is plenty of beer, but please remember that this is a celebration of local craft beer and not a party bus.
– Breweries may change at the last minute due to availability, Pittsburgh sporting events, and other scheduling conflicts.

For more information or to purchase tour tickets, visit their site, here


Announcing Our Newest Luxury Apartments — NOW Available!

We are absolutely thrilled to be announcing our newest apartments in the heart of Pittsburgh’s East End!

A chic, contemporary exterior welcomes twelve one-bedroom and loft-style apartments, all of which are ready to say “Welcome home!” to new residents. That’s right, this stunning building is ready for immediate occupancy!

Each unit is unique, and each stars some of the best features you can find in Shadyside. Hickory hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances gleam in the midday sun that shines through floor-to-ceiling windows. Spacious layouts, walk-in closets, balconies, and high ceilings ensure that this urban dwelling is anything but small. (Photographed below!)

Located near University of Pittsburgh Medical Center area hospitals, and only a few blocks from Shadyside’s popular retail shops and restaurants, these residencies are at the center of Pittsburgh’s very best. Convenient access and quick, walkable routes to such top-rated locales are an urban-lovers’ dream. But the tree-lined streets and sidewalks of this historic area lend a cozy, suburban feel to the otherwise effervescent neighborhood.

No matter where you turn, there is something to see or do in Shadyside, and we always want to reflect this personality and love for life in our apartments. This newest building is certainly no exception. Bike storage, garage parking, and washers and dryer in each unit are just a few ways we work to benefit our residents’ active lifestyles.

For more information, please visit our website here or call our Shadyside website at 412-661-1151 for current apartment availability and rental rates.

We hope to hear from you soon!