By Tom Fontaine

Published: Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

Hazelwood leaders don't want the neighborhood to find itself on the wrong side of the railroad tracks separating it from the former LTV Steel Co. site along the Monongahela River.

If a $1 billion investment goes as planned, the sprawling brownfield site would become home to offices, housing, retailers and light industry.

As large machines prepare the 178 acres for development, groups such as the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, Hazelwood Initiative and ACTION-Housing Inc. are working to prepare the distressed neighborhood for growth.

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After sitting vacant for nearly a decade, the space that formerly housed Poli restaurant in Squirrel Hill has been acquired by ACTION-Housing and will be redeveloped into a mix of residential and office units.

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Both in Pittsburgh and across Allegheny County, private and nonprofit developers have made great use of vacant public and private schools for both housing and other community-responsive uses to generate new life in existing communities ("A worthy purpose for vacant schools," Nov. 10). Often, private charitable foundations have played a critical role. The sheer number of school buildings in Philadelphia available at one time will be quite daunting, but it would seem this is a great opportunity for the region's largest foundations to create an asset pool with development capital that would guide the redevelopment.

Schools have special meaning in a community, where the memories and experiences of many generations are tied to a physical place. For many people, then, the symbol of their neighborhood school in a healthy reuse offers the same great value as an art museum, waterfront development, downtown civic space, or similar projects.

Lawrence A. Swanson, executive director, ACTION-Housing Inc., Pittsburgh

Letter to the Editor- Philadelphia Inquirer 

The site of the former Poli restaurant in Squirrel Hill will become 40 units of housing under a plan that ACTION-Housing is preparing for community input by early next year.

A once-venerable restaurant lauded for its seafood, Poli closed at 5686 Forward Ave. in 2005 by order of Allegheny County Common Pleas Court after a legal dispute.

ACTION-Housing's holding company, AHI Development Inc., bought the property for $435,000 in September and is entering a joint venture with Jewish Residential Services.

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By Sam Spatter 

Published: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Hazelwood's redevelopment is taking another step.

With the 178-acre Almono development at the former LTV Steel Co. site getting started, a food store will replace the historic Dimperio's Market. It closed in January 2009, and was the last grocery store in the neighborhood along the Monongahela River. Dimperio's was a Hazelwood icon, having served the community for 80 years and outlasting A&P and Giant Eagle stores.

Action Housing Inc., through one of its subsidiaries, is helping restore the food store with the help of the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County.

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