Re: Plotting A new Build
With your price range, you are open to endless possibilities.
I don't know if you can find a bike with the easy to mount old school tubing, but you can buy a really nice used hardtail mountain bike with heavy duty goodies on it for not too much. I know that won't have your 3 speed, but you could always change that out.
I prefer to build using the old bikes for several reasons, some of which are the frames, and good components. (mostly)