We begin this year-end wrap up with the always true, all-purpose caveat to make the bad news bears happy: Many awful things happened in Pittsburgh in 2013, and although we're doing better we still have a looong looong way to go.

OK. That's out of the way. Let's move on.

The Pirates' winning season and playoff bid trumped all good news from this fan's point of view, but 2013 saw big wins for neighborhoods, some that felt neglected for decades.

My top stories happened in the big three H's: Hazelwood, the Hill and Homewood.

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Two buildings under construction in Uptown will provide 47 new apartments -- 23 affordable units in one and 24 units for young adults moving out of foster care in the other.

But the $12 million project by Action Housing will provide more than housing.

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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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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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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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