Most Improved Neighborhood: The Official 2010 Ballot

On we go with the “neighborhood” categories in the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate! This year, which little slice of Houston deserves to win the award for Most Improved Neighborhood?

The official nominees, culled from your choices and descriptions, are listed below. Now’s your chance to choose the winner! Add your vote to a comment below, send it in an email to Swamplot, announce it on Twitter, write it on the wall of Swamplot’s Facebook page — or all 4! (That’s right, if you follow these rules, each of you can vote 4 times.) If you think you can drum up more support for your favorite candidate, go right ahead! Just make sure all votes are in by 5 pm on Monday, December 27th.

The nominees for Most Improved Neighborhood are . . .


1. Brookesmith. “It has seen a lot of improvement in the past year, despite the recession. Remodeling is picking up, a few bungalows have been moved in to occupy some of the vacant lots, and there has even been some new construction of single-family homes. In addition, there have been some infrastructure improvements: the reconstruction of North Main below Airline is complete, Tabor St. has been widened, and Enid St. is being widened as well.”

2. Greater Eastwood. “It’s still got a ways to go, and I don’t think its improvements are exclusive to 2010, but it should be in the running.

3. EaDo. “Such a hip name they gave to East Downtown! Where‘d they get it from? Already chock full of stadiums and just about to add one more, for the Dynamo.”

4. Alden Place. “Wasn’t this the neighborhood featured in Reality Bytes? Winona Ryder’s career may have gone downhill since then, but this area’s only gotten better.

Nine years ago I lived on Stanford near Bell. The area was awesome, if you didn’t mind listening to gunfire and having helicopters hovering overhead all night long. I wish I lived there now, within walking distance of Pink’s Pizza, Barnaby’s and IHOS, and with the new Whole Foods coming in! Man oh man! I wish I had had the foresight to purchase something back then.

5. Midtown. “Even in the past 2 years alone (when construction was at a stop around town) we’ve seen Camden Travis built over Houston’s original strip mall, Jonathan Farb built a massive development at Bagby and McGowen [above], The Mix on Elgin was built, the rehab next to Continental Club, HCC started construction on their next big phase, and not to mention all of the new restaurants and non-‘Washington club’-type establishments that have opened.”

6. Shady Acres. This neighborhood stood derelict for so long while the Heights went upscale. Now, those nasty little, affordable houses on large lots are finally being replaced by huge 3-story townhomes — 6 to 8 of them per lot.”

7. Willowbend. Before, tawdry rent houses abounded. Now, thanks to the growth of the Med Center and this neighborhood’s great location, there are almost no ‘tawdries.’ Exemplary elementary school, good private schools, street repairs, responsible property owners, and proper deed restrictions. This ’hood is nicer than it has been in 40 years. The developer planted live oaks 50 or 60 years ago and they are now mature and gorgeous. One of Houston’s greatest (and quietest) comebacks.

8. Westwood Gardens. “I think all of the half-built Royce houses have since been completed, the weeds have been mowed, and a (sorta) new builder is actively marketing new homes in the subdivision. Much improved!”

Okay,  neighborhood experts! This year, which one of these nominees has earned the title of Houston’s Most Improved Neighborhood?

Photos: HAR (502 Enid St., 4006 Dallas St., 3123 Dallas St., 413 W. Saulnier St., 1001 W. 21st St. Unit 1, 4613 Stillbrooke Dr., 9407 Cholla Hill Ct.), and Candace Garcia (City Place Midtown) — all either for sale or lease!

62 Comment

  • It would be easier to get enthused about Midtown if everything didn’t have names quite as stupid as “The Mix” and “The Edge.”

  • Midtown destroys the competition. Make fun all you want but the facts speak for themselves. I vote Midtown.

  • Brooke Smith! The neighborhood is turning around quicker than I ever imagined.

  • #4 Alden place, and a resident there of.

  • Midtown remains a crime-ridden hellhole. Check the crime stats.
    It could improve the most and still be a dangerous eyesore.
    Most improved? Maybe if they destroyed the bus station so the TDC releasees can wander and panhandle (at least) elsewhere.

  • Brookesmith, the neighborhood has been steadily improving and with housing and lots still affordable, it will only see more improvement in 2011.

  • Alden Place

  • EaDo is offended ya’ll would think Midtown corners the market on dumb names. In fact, it’s so up in arms, they are getting the most irritable of their shop owners together for a shootout, east end style. You don’t mess with this hood, although progress is still a relative term here.

    Shady Acres gets the vote. What was there originally makes me scratch my head. Cedar Creek is one of the most impressive things to open in Htown in some time.

  • Eastwood.

  • Greater Eastwood

  • 7. Willowbend

  • 4. Alden Place

  • 7. Willowbend

  • Willowbend. I know several folks who live there, and I really never understood the attraction. But it is growing on me.

  • #4 Alden Place. Corey made me do it! But it has improved quite a bit!.

  • @Udunno… not sure what you’re talking about. I’ve lived in Midtown 3 years and crime has never been a problem (other than occasional car break-ins like what happens anywhere else in the city). People that bash Midtown don’t know anything about the area. We have one of the safest zip codes in the city (77002)!

  • Alden Place! “IHOS”, in case anyone is interested, is Juan Mon’s International House of Sandwiches. If you haven’t been, you are doing yourself a disservice!

  • Brian – you’re dead wrong on the crime stats.

    Look closer, and leave downtown out of it.

    I’ve been rear-ended by a drunk AND had my locked truck broken into, but the stats tell the story, not anecdotes. (I was hit hard enough that the drunk’s Pathfinder was totalled, btw).

    There is a website (pay, I think) that breaks down areas and DOESN’T lump (safer) downtown in w/midtown. (sorry no link – but a search engine will find it.)
    Midtown is a VERY high crime area.

  • alden place. in this dirty city, you can’t beat being within a few hundred yards of 4 different car wash places.

  • Much as I admire the stamina of Willowbend and the convenience of Alden Place, I vote for my eponymous neighborhood of the past 20 years: Brooke Smith.

  • Brookesmith!

  • Brookesmith. With the reconstruction of Main, I expect this area to really take off in 2011 as well.

  • Brooke Smith has great access and is near everything. It feels like a neighborhood. Many homes with character and families who have lived in them for generations, unusual in Houston. Amazingly, parts of it near Little White Oak Bayou especially, even have a rural feel in the heart of the city. And, it’s affordable!!

  • Oh, and Brooke Smith is adjacent to the largest farmer’s market in town. An absolute essential for those who love to cook fresh, healthily and cheap!

  • I think the community spirit of Brooke Smith is defining, and the overall growth of the neighborhood is progressivly plesant. The gentrification is evident with the new construction of homes, remodeling of old bungalows, and high involvement of the Montie Beach Civic Club. Hand down – Brooke Smith.

  • Brooke Smith all the way! A friend of mine invited me to one of thier community potlucks and I felt thier civic club fostered a feeling inclusiveness. Way to go!

  • Brooke Smith also boasts many fine Mexican restaurants including Teotihuacan, Spanish Flower and Rico’s, which now features a drag show on Friday nights. Across the street from Rico’s is our Shipley’s on N. Main, the only place in town for boudin kolaches and Cajun music on the radio. Where else in Houston will you find such riches?

  • Willowbend (and neighboring Willow Meadows) all the way! Peaceful neighborhood, lots of young families moving in and the wonderful mature trees and pride in ownership that you mentioned really make this neighborhood a great and affordable choice. Willow Meadows is zoned to Bellaire High which makes it an even bigger draw for families.

  • Gee, does Brooksmith have a neighborhood bulletin board? :-)

  • Are write-ins allowed? Because the correct choice for this award is, without a doubt, Cinco Ranch. This brilliant neighborhood/community destroys the competition, and is what every neighborhood should strive to emulate.

  • Write In Candidate: Southampton.

    It pisses off Matt and it is clearly full of folks that want to preserve their neighborhood. Seems like a good start to me.

  • You mean there’s a place in Houston with Mexican food *and* donuts? I never dreamed it could be so! If only I’d known before I bought my house.

  • I love Brookesmith, but Shady Acres is the right pick. The pace of development is just crazy. This is not a gradually gentrifying area or a neglected neighborhood that is seeing better days. Shady Acres is transforming overnight into something completely new and different (didn’t say good). The neighborhood serves the purpose of giving shear joy to the Freidman/Ayn Rand loving free marketeers in Houston, while sending a chill down the spine of anyone in a Historic District that may be trimmed or abolished altogether once the survey process is over.

  • I agree with Mark. Willowbend (and Willow Meadows).

    I visited that area for the first time last month and I loved it. Very quiet and the homes were very well kept. I’ve added that those to hoods to my list of potential future homes.

  • I live in Midtown and there’s absolutely nothing scary about this place. I walk around here all of the time, especially at night when I’m going to different establishments and always feel comfortable. Yea there are a few eyesores in the area but what big city in America doesn’t have those?

  • Um, I’m sorry Gucci Mane but how did Cinco Ranch improve radically from last year? This is MOST IMPROVED category.

  • Brooksmith…hands down!

  • Love Brookesmith!!!!

  • Brookesmith!!!!

  • Willowbend. The sooner they finish the Willow Waterhole Greenspace, the better.

  • Is Cinco Ranch even a neighborhood? And if so, what sets it apart from any other such neighborhood in Sugar Land, Katy, Humble, Pearland, or the Woodlands? I thought Cinco Ranch was a master planned community, comprised of large sprawling houses designed such that the residents never have to see, nevertheless interact with their neighbors. Sort of the opposite of a “neighborhood,” don’t you think? There is a great documentary called Radiant City which to me justifies the crazy in the loop prices we Houstonians pay to experience “neighborhood” living.

  • Mel: Quote of the day, week and year.

  • @Old School-blush!

  • BrookeHollowSmithGlenHaven, and it’s not even close.

  • Brookesmith Heights has had remarkable growth and improvement over last year or two; Brookesmith deserves the award for most improved area in Houston. It also has my favorite retro icehouse “D&T Drive inn” at Enid/Calvalcade.

  • Brooke smith!!

  • Willowbend.

    It’s time is now, not when crime abates on N. Main or the east side.

    also no refinery smells (yes, you E. side!).

    Drive through and look…and I’ve no dog in that hunt< BTW.

  • brookesmith just keeps gettin butter n butter. now if i could just finish my daughter’s place on n.wood it would be even butter.

  • Brooksmith is beginning to really be an up and coming wonderful neighborhood. It is great.

  • Brooke Smith! Cool neighborhood…

  • Eastwood for sure and having lived in the house pictured, I should freaking know.

  • Brooke Smith continues to make vast improvements. The progress of this community is evident as you drive through and see historic homes being remodeled and new homes being built on vacant lots. The improvements to North Main are fantastic. Brooke Smith has wonderful restaurants and the best park, Montie Beach, in all of Greater Heights. Montie Beach Park even has a splash pad that children and children at heart enjoy! The Montie Beach Civic Club services Brooke Smith and continues to have a very active membership and a strong voice in the Greater Heights community. The community spirit of this community is simply AMAZING! The neigbors love gathering to simply socialize, ride bikes, or picnic at the park but also can organize quickly to make a difference when most important such as helping a neighbor in need, locating the home of a lost pet, collecting food for the hungry, catching a suspected criminal, and/or helping Browning Elementary with school supplies or a book drive. I am so proud to be a member of this wonderful neighborhood and fantastic civic club!!!! I LOVE BROOKE SMITH!

  • Brooksmith is flyin’ high! BROOKESMITH!

  • I’m going to have to say Brookesmith. Been in some of the other places, and I was impressed with Brookesmith the most. Keep it up!!

  • New construction and overall investment appeal are at the forefront of my vote: BROOKESMITH.

  • Willowbend. Willow Meadows without the big price tag.

  • Gotta vote for my new home, Willowbend! We moved here for the great school district and affordable housing, but I suspected being in the ‘burbs would kill my soul a little. I was SO wrong! Everyone is so friendly, funky, and liberal, and I feel like I live in a ‘hood that combines all the best of 1950s living (friendliness, safety, community) with the best of the 2010s (multiculturalism, super convenient shopping and restaurants). Plus, my commute to downtown is only 5 min longer than it was from west Montrose — you can’t beat that! Yay Willowbend! (Oh, and we have horsies!

  • Brookesmith, great family area