Pittsburgh tiny house continues to appear on Airbnb, could be in violation of its URA loan

Garfield’s now-famous cottage last month sold for $ 109,000 (its full asking price). But since it became a legitimate house occupied by its owner, the micro-house has led a special life on the Internet. The 330-square-foot home has appeared on the Airbnb home rentals site at least twice in the past month, each time mysteriously vanishing into thin air about an hour after it was posted.

Matt Buchholz, an artist who lives a few blocks from the cottage, says he spotted the ad on Airbnb Sunday night, then captured it on screen and posted it to his twitter account (@AltHistories). A City paper Staff also saw the tiny house posted on Airbnb about two weeks ago. Both times, the post was removed within an hour.

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Screenshot of @AltHistories twitter account

Another Garfield neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote to CP that the ad “was marketed as centrally located, 15 minutes from” anywhere you want to be. ” Buchholz says the listing showed the host’s name as “Anne Marie” and said the cost of renting the house was $ 99 a night.

“The fact that it has been listed and removed twice is very strange,” Buchholz wrote in a message to CP, “and any use of it as an Airbnb is in contradiction with the cityLab [the home’s developer] stated objective.

The Little House was touted as a way to provide affordable single-family homes in disaster-stricken areas of Pittsburgh. The unforeseen costs of the site led to an exorbitant price – $ 109,000, and this low just because cityLab has received over $ 80,000 in grants from the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and other sources.

Rick Swartz of Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation confirms Buccholz’s suspicions. Swartz says the owner of the house told developer Eve Picker that she and her partner occasionally make the tiny house available to local artists, when they are out of town. The owner would work with local art groups to let them know when the space would be available, on a limited basis, according to Swartz.

“Posting her on Airbnb might give the impression that she is using it as a guesthouse may happen more than occasionally,” Swartz wrote to CP after the first publication two weeks ago. “I don’t think the URA would agree to this and could possibly require the developer, cityLab, to repay the $ 49,000 in URA funds the project received.”

After the first post, Swartz wrote that the fact that it was withdrawn quickly “may be an indication that the owner is stepping down.” CP contacted developer Picker after the second post, but she didn’t answer calls until press time.

URA President Kevin Acklin said in October 2015 that the city was happy to invest in the tiny house and that it was a “big pilot” for a house effort. sustainable. “It was worth the investment,” he said. “Whether this is scalable remains to be seen. ”

Artistic Director Lisa Cunningham contributed to this story.

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