Most Overlooked Neighborhood: The Official 2012 Ballot

Onward, to the “neighborhood” categories in the 2012 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate! First: Which little slice of Houston deserves to win the award for Most Overlooked 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 Wednesday, December 26th.

The nominees for Most Overlooked Neighborhood are . . .


1. Park Place. “If you have never driven River Dr. . . . just go. It’s a winding country lane with homes on incredibly large lots, in a neighborhood right at Loop 610. Some sections of Park Place have alley access and a bucolic feel. It could even be considered a ‘golf course community’: Glenbrook, the city’s second-oldest golf course, sits at the neighborhood’s southern border. Some homes even have golf course views. Park Place has its own library, the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, an ‘exemplary’ rated elementary school, plus the St. Christopher Catholic School. Add in a historic-home bed and breakfast. And Charlton Park, named for Park Place’s only mayor during the brief time it was its own incorporated city. The Audubon Center’s log cabin isn’t the only log cabin in there.”


2. Willowbend, Willowbrook, and Post Oak Manor. “These communities form a contiguous neighborhood bordered by South Post Oak on the west, railroad tracks on the south and east, and Willowbend on the north, though the Willowbend neighborhood extends north of Willowbend Blvd. as well. After several years of researching and looking at neighborhoods, I chose to buy in Willowbrook because of its still very reasonable prices, because it was an established neighborhood of ranch houses with a great location right next to 610, and because it has easy access to the Galleria, the Med Center, and Downtown. Add friendly neighbors and safe streets and it is the perfect location to have the best of the city — with the yard of the suburbs.”


3. Afton Village. “It’s between between Antoine and Silber, just north of Ikea. Beautiful brick homes from the late fifties and sixties, in a well-maintained, deed-restricted community. Very close to I-10 and the West Loop; you could probably be Downtown in 15 minutes. The homes look a bit like Tanglewood before all the teardowns started happening there. I don’t know much about living there, but I’ve been impressed the few times I’ve driven through it, and I never hear anything about it.”

“It’s a very family friendly area. You can actually have lawn or porch furniture in your front yard . . . and not have it stolen! Color me impressed.”


4. Acres Homes. “There’s a lot of undeveloped land out here: north of rapidly changing Oak Forest, Shepherd Park Plaza, and Candlelight Plaza. It’s mostly greenspace, with 1 or 2 industrial facilities and an odd residence here and there. The land is just too cheap and too wide open to pass up. Lots are 1, 2, and 3 acres with some larger ones mixed in. You could build Shady Acres-like 40-to-50-townhome compounds on a typical lot and still have room left for a detention pond or greenspace. Granted, the first few developments would be pioneers of sorts — and you might have to put up with some tire and body dumping in the area. But there are a lot of people coming to Houston who are getting priced out of the housing market who do not want to live 45 minutes plus away from work. Anyone with a bag of cash and nerves of steel should start buying up land and building out that area. It’s Houston’s last frontier.”

“A plus: Residents are allowed to keep horses. It’s really cool to turn the corner and see horses in a yard!”


5. Mangum Manor. “This neighborhood of about 450 homes has easy access to 290, 610 North, and 45 North. The heart of the neighborhood is a city park with some nice features. Good streets and sidewalks, mostly brick homes with well kept yards, and a strong civic club.”


6. Shepherd Park Terrace. “Homes that are truly identical to those in Shepherd Park Plaza, but on average $100k less — because you have to cross the street into a different Zip Code. But that’s changing fast. Good time to get in on some predictable appreciation over the next few years.”


7. Sharpstown. “Pockets of well kept homes (and yards), longtime residents, and close to everything. Already starting to attract some attention, though.


8. Sharpstown Country Club Terrace. “It’s only a matter of time before the location, lot sizes, availability of good private schools, and affordability get noticed. For now, though, the Sharpstown stigma helps keep it under wraps.”


9. Westbury. “Are you still overlooking Westbury? Started to attract some buzz already. You can do nice, cheap, safe, and close-in here.”


10. Spring Shadows. “I’m shocked how nice it is and how cheap the prices are. With Spring Branch to the south improving so much, though, eventually this area has to get noticed. It’s got decent access to the Energy Corridor and Memorial City and eventually — when 290 is fixed — to the West Belt area.”


11. Museum Park. “It has a very active neighborhood association, it just got a good new restaurant (Lucille’s), a fair amount of residential and commercial building is going on, and the Rice Design Alliance just held a competition for a neighborhood master plan . . . but still, all one hears about is Montrose and the Heights.”


Okay, neighborhood experts! Time to look over the choices. This year, which one of them has earned the title of Most Overlooked Neighborhood?

Photos: HAR (4005 Dover St., 4326 Stillbrooke Dr., 7214 Alderney Dr., 1629 Wilburforce St., 5418 Poinciana Dr., 5419 Brian Haven Dr., 7151 Roos Rd., 7711 Lacy Hill Dr., 5242 Willowbend Blvd., 3015 Stetson Ln., and 4514 Jackson St., all for listed for sale)

62 Comment

  • I vote Sharpstown country club terrace. The location is prime, the homes are spacious, the lots are big, close to the amazing china town and mahatma ghandi district, and renovated ranches are fast approaching the 150k mark.

    Regular sharpstown south of 59 is slowly improving as well. My dad lives on mobud and 8 homes have been completely renovated the past 2 years just on his street.

  • #10 for me, but I might have to go by Park Place sometime.

  • Sharpstown Country Club Terrace … the lot sizes are large, great neighbors, and the crime is low (you can leave your garage door open at night and nothing will be missing in the morning). I love that long term residents still reside here as well as a mix of families … the houses and yards are well kept. The apartments are a whole nother story … but Rome wasn’t built in one day!

  • Spring Shadows. Takes me 30-45 (at worst) to get to work in the Medical Center, 15-20 min. to get to anywhere fun, lots of great Mexican/Vietnamese/Korean restaurants in the area, and we just got a new Starbucks at Gessner & Kempwood – that’s gotta count for something, amirite??

  • #5 – Mangum Manor. It doesn’t get the publicity of Oak Forest, but the homes are nicer and larger.

  • #6 Shepherd Park Terrace. Less than a minute up Ella from Oak Forest and Garden Oaks without the inflated price tags.

  • #4–Acres Homes. For a long time, all we ever heard about Acres Homes was about the seeming serial killer that haunted it. It sounded like a fearful place. But I like driving through it and seeing all the horses people keep. And Acres Homes is the location of the Art Guys studio (which doubles as a “museum of whatever we want”) which often puts on outstanding art shows open to the public by folks way outside the mainstream, like tattooist Ed Hardy and sideshow banner painter Johnny Meah.

  • Park Place for sure. Why the continuous omission of the east side?

  • Gandhi dammit! How would you like pronouncing Lhuter?

  • #9 I LOVE living in Westbury, almost 7 years now. Bought a house there after 12 years of renting in Meyerland. Great location, nice neighbors, original ranch-style 1960s homes that are reasonably priced. Several neighbors, including next door, are original owners. Low crime. What’s not to like?

  • A number 2 for me, please – hold the fries.

  • I vote #4 acres homes. As the category is “MOST” overlooked, I have to give this neighborhood credit for how close into town it is at reasonable prices. This area of town will be revitalized and as the poster said, if you have some money it would be a good time to gobble up some land in that neighborhood.

  • Sharpstown country club terrace for me. I LOOOVVVVE the food in the area and the neighborhood itself seems to be picking up. Apartments are bad but the worsts one are being demolished. The complex next to Sharpstown high school was destroyed thankfully because it was a crime hot spot, I’m wondering what they will do with the land.

  • 1. PARK PLACE! They have a traffic circle :)

  • I got a fever, and the only prescription is more #2!!!

  • No. 2 – But I am interested in checking out some of the others on the list.

  • Park Place. Close in, great bungalows, a golf course? I bet most people know the other neighborhoods, have driven through Park Place before though, but have OVERLOOKED it. Isn’t that the whole point? Park Place it is.

  • #8 great location and very under rated value wise, and that abundance of luscious Latinas is a perk.

  • I live in Westbury and LOVE it – but… as a realtor, I am voting for Mangum Manor. I found this neighborhood while helping a client look for a home and it is WONDERFUL!

  • I vote for #1 – and that was my Grandmother’s house that is pictured!

  • #4 Acres Homes

  • #1 Park Place. It was a good neighborhood to grow up in back in the day.

  • #2, though prices in the area reflect it’s not overlooked by everyone.

  • I choose to abstain from voting in this category – it just engenders people who live there to wax poetic about how great their hood is, hoping to ramp up interest (and thus property values)…it’s not a real discussion about pros and cons of the hoods in question.

  • @Superdave: Most people only know one or two of the neighborhoods well enough to weigh pros and cons. There cannot be any real discussion/comparison in this context.

  • Sharpstown country club terrace. I think this area could use some redevelopment in the apartment arena but is definitely prime property. I hope to see what happens here.

    I love Westbury, but it is not longer overlooked…and prices are a climbing.

  • Park Place is, truly, “The Most Overlooked Neighborhood.” (even though I grew up in Sharpstown)

  • #8 Sharpstown country club terrace, the location is prime and the homs are still up and in good condition. — speaks volumes about its future

  • I vote #4, Acres Home. It really has potential.

  • You missed Shadow Oaks south of Spring Shadows. One mile from CityCentre, easy access to I-10 and Beltway-8 and you can still pick up nice homes in there $200kish on 9-10k sqft lots. Easy fixer uppers are $130k-$165k

  • #8 Sharpstown CCT

  • This category is hard to vote in without doing some research. For me, it’s a toss up between 7 and 8, although my vote is cast for #7: Sharpstown.

    The primary reason? You mention “Sharpstown,” and people run fleeing. No one I know would even remotely consider driving through Sharpstown, nevertheless, looking at a home there, due to the negative connotation from all the violent crimes of years past.

  • Sharpstown Country Club Terrace is one of the best neighborhoods in Houston, easily overlooked by many buyers. The homes and lots are large and a great value. Tens of millions of dollars of improvement projects are underway or in development and the community has organized to drive renewal.

  • Sharpstown Country Club Terrace! It is so close to everything! Plus it is seeing revitalization with new homes being built, The St Agnes Sports complex that was just built, several churches expanding and building, and the plans HBU has for some of it property.

  • #8 Sharpstown CCT

  • My vote goes to #8 Sharpstown Country Club Terrace. Sharpstown in general has made many improvements these past few years I think its time people take notice to these changes.

  • Sharpstown! I bought an amazing mid century modern here on a lot with gorgeous oak trees for a steal. Great neighbors, 10-15 min commute to Montrose, and its the quietest neighborhood I have ever lived in Houston. Love my sharpietown!

  • #8 Sharpstown Country Club Terrace by far!
    Great location, great neighbors, lot sizes, trees, birds, houses, and for now affordable.

  • #8 Sharpstown Country Club Terrace. We have lived here since 1978.

  • Sharpstown!!!!

  • Sharpstown Country Club Terrace.

  • Definitely Sharpstown country club terrace. 15 min drive to downtown, 10 to the Gally, and the international food is incredible. I love me some arandas and tan tans!

  • 8. Definitely 8. Sharpstown County Club Terrace offers larger, somewhat newer houses than Sharpstown – and it’s amazingly close to everything. The single-family areas of Sharpstown are very safe; the Sharpstown Stigma is almost entirely due to the multifamily and commercial areas around it; not the neighborhood itself.

  • #7 Sharpstown!
    I grew up in section 2 and now live in section 1. We are close to everything, have huge lots, and cool mid-century mod homes. Very happy with our choice!

  • Park Place has many, many charms but its unfortunate proximity to the refineries is a deal breaker. Sharpstown CC Estates gets my vote this year for its huge lots and slumbering potential.

  • Sharpstown Country Club Terrace. One of the least-expensive neighborhoods close in. Well-built homes, lots of people moving in and renovating. Plenty of new Commercial/Institutional investment into the area, as well. St. Agnes Athletic Complex, new Neff Elementary, new St. Francis de Sales Church, etc., as well as more building to come (HBU, Sharpstown International, etc.). Great restaurants of every cuisine – various Asian, Mexican, Indian, American, etc. within walking distance. Minutes to Galleria, Downtown, Med Center.

  • my vote if for Sharptstown #7.

  • Sure looks like someone notified the Sharpstown neighborhood association about this vote! LOL.

    By the way – this was not a vote for Sharpstown Country Club Terrace – just an observation on the sudden influx of votes.

  • Sharpstown!! Yes, we are spreading the word! Sharpstown is soooo overlooked.

  • Another example of where a neighborhood map would help. Where are the boundaries of Sharpstown Country Club Terrace or some of the others?

  • Westbury is getting pretty ghetto.

  • Alicia – the boundaries of SCCT are scary apartments along Beechnut to the North, storm sewer ditch/cancer inducing power line towers/industrial area to the East, more scary apartments and a city owned golf course to the South, and even more scary apartments and another drainage ditch to the West. Hope that helps.

    The solution to the neighborhood being overlooked is probably not voting here, but getting rid of the dicey apartments that engulf it – or perhaps even working with the owners to clean them up.


  • I’ve invested my time and energies into Sharpstown for a while. I’ve always felt it was a slumbering jewel. As many have mentioned in previous comments, there is a lot of investment into the area coming along. Come look at the neighborhood in about 4 years and you will see significant changes in the infrastructure, school buildings, local businesses, home remodels and esplanade maintenance.
    Country Club Terrace is a part of Sharpstown and I am not sure why it is separated out.
    Areas for improvement: apartments surrounding; school reputations (they really are great schools despite what people think); MALL NEEDS NEW OWNER AND CONCEPT!!!; more plain non-ethnic grocery store access; an identity as a community.
    I live here and love my neighbors. I drive elsewhere for grocery shopping. That hopefully will change in the near future.

  • My vote is for Westbury/Parkwest. You must check out the section west of Hillcroft Westbury 5. You can find homes zoned to Parker Elementary and Johnston Middle School for less than $160,000. Each section is a little different but all really great. Some great investment oppertunity.

  • Beautiful community and people! I’ve lived in Sharpstown for 50 years and it is as safe as any neiborhood in Houston. Takes only 12-15 minutes to downtown without traffic and less than an hour on the heaviest days.

  • I’ve lived in Houston for 36 years and have lived in Westbury, Shadowlake (Alief), Westchase and Sutton Square (Midtown/Montrose). Attended Strake for high school and I know about Sharpstown. I’ve searched every neighborhood on this list for a new home and settled on Willowbend. Willowbend and Willow Meadows are one of the best buys in town and beats Sharpshooter for proximity to the med center, Galleria and downtown.