Nara Nixed at West Ave; Those Million-Dollar Heights and Oak Forest Houses


Photo of Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool


21 Comment

  • I’m still confused by Oak Forest. It’s a stone’s throw away from some really rough areas. For a million bucks you can be in a better neighborhood like Bellaire, Meyerland, Braeswood, etc. It seems more like a place that people moving to Houston for oil and gas hear about from their coworkers who also have just moved to Houston.

  • Brian:

    It’s not really such a shocker. Most of the teardown/rebuild effort in OF has been on the east side, starting next to the edge of Garden Oaks (where it has been in progress for some time) and continuing westward. OF is more than 10 times bigger than Garden Oaks (I think it is in that range), so it is not surprising to see a lot of activity over there. While I have not pulled out my protractor and map, both OF and GO are closer to downtown than most parts of Bellaire, despite being “outside the loop”. And finally, the OF Elementary School has a great reputation, even better than that of GO Elementary for some reason, so the families with the little ones have an extra incentive to buy in an area zoned to that school.

  • @Brian: Pretty sure you get more bang for your buck in Oak Forest than in the other places you named. Everything is a stones throw from a rough area if you throw hard enough. And have you ever seen Halloween in Oak Forest? That’s a down home, old timey neighborhood right there. The other places not so much.

  • It sounds like West Ave is a lousy location for a restaurant. I know I never eat there. I like Suit Supply, though.

  • @Brian – the same can be said about Bellaire, Meyerland and Braeswood. There are very rough areas nearby those locations, too.

  • @ Brian

    Oak forest gives you larger lots and houses than the Heights, but like the Heights is it much easier to get to the I-10 Energy Corridor and downtown than Bellaire (no fighting the 610 West Morass or 59). And the $1 million home is still the exception there. Parts of Meyerland abut somewhat questionable areas too.

  • @Brian: Bellaire, Meyerland and Braeswood are a stone’s throw away from some pretty rough spots, too. There is currently a lot more inventory in Oak Forest. You can pretty much get the monster spec house of your dreams for @900-1 mil in Oak Forest. In the SW area, inventory is much lower as most of Bellaire has gentrified already. You will end up paying $1.5 mil plus for a new build just to keep away from being pressed up against 610. Don’t ask me why everyone wants a new build. Also, people in Oak Forest feel like they are in the “Greater Heights” and see all the restaurants and amenities of the Heights as being accessible to their neighborhood. Oak Forest elementary is very good and Black Middle is making solid progress.

  • @Brian – Bellaire and the other places you mentioned are really nice places to live. But, the traffic makes it really hard to get to Downtown and West Houston where the energy jobs are. It would be even harder to reverse commute north to those Woodlands jobs. Oak Forest is more centrally located to the energy jobs. The whole 290 corridor from the loop to the beltway seems like an area with a lot of up potential if you don’t mind the lack of amenities like you can get in Spring Branch right now. Not to be so West Houston-centric, but I have lived in the Med Center and traffic is absolutely brutal. I think the attitude among many energy folks is to leave the area to the doctors and the locals.

  • $350,000 without the truck? What are they smokin’? (pun intended)

  • As the neighborhood gentrifies, traffic there will eventually reach “brutal status” just like other areas. There used to be no traffic in the Heights, when it consisted of single family homes with elderly people and vacant crack houses. Now in many places, you have 6 townhomes with up to 12 commuters, where there previously was 1 house with maybe 1 commuter, if they weren’t retired or disabled.

    Because of this, getting downtown is becoming more and more difficult every year, and from every side. It’s also worth noting that getting from anywhere inside the loop to the “Energy Corridor” is also becoming more and more difficult due to congestion on I-10 and the Westpark Tollway. Traffic usage data shows ever-increasing volumes on both of those roads each year.

    At the current pace of growth, the entire segment of Houston inside Loop 610 and sections just outside of it, are going to become a huge traffic morass, like Los Angeles and New York City.

  • @Houstonian I’ll second the hellish commute from Med Center to the Energy Corridor; I’m the unfortunate one-half of the household that doesn’t have a 10-minute commute to a Med Center job!

  • @Brian
    Oh, come on!

  • Everyone keeps talking about how convenient GOOF is to downtown and the energy corridor (” where the energy jobs are”, as Houstonian put it). But the real advantage that GOOF has over some of the other neighborhoods mentioned is if you work in the energy industry north of town: Exxon, obviously, but many others. Anadarko in the Woodlands, Halliburton right near IAH, Nabors and Noble over in Greenspoint, the company I work for, Southwestern Energy next to the new Exxon campus, and many others. If you want to live near the city but work in one of those north-of-town energy companies, GOOF makes a lot of sense.

  • Traffic has a funny way of becoming an issue in popular locations. Look at the heights 10 years ago and compare it to today.

  • I wouldn’t consider traffic in the Heights all that bad. Even at rush hour, Heights, Yale, and Studewood move and the intersections don’t back up for multiple light cycles. It’s nothing compared to the Galleria area.

  • Given the drop in oil prices and everyone touting its great access to energy jobs, maybe the question is are we going to continue to see $1 million+ listings in Oak Forest? At present I only see 3 pending home sales in that price range in the area.

  • don’t think i’ve driven on that part of the 610 loop since SHFL moved out of northern heights, but even then i still skipped a lot of shows because of the commute from the montrose. that’s my problem with the GOOF area. the difference between a 5min and 15min commute is huge. the difference between a 15min and 25 commute is much less so and a 25min radius from montrose/museum area opens up a ton of options at half the price if not worried about schools. i think it probably has more to do with north Houston being an economic wasteland until you hit the outer burbs.

  • I had the good fortune to live in Oak Forest until I was about five. I still remember living on Saxon Dr. very well, and the house is still there (based on Street View). That was in the 50s. It was an incredibly peaceful neighborhood of pines, oaks, well kept homes and lawns, and friendly people. I honestly don’t know how it is now, but would like to visit. I wouldn’t be interested in a new home, though. Just a little 2-BR cottage would be fine.

  • I’m in LOVE with GOOF! I love the suburban feel but still being in the city.

    And Joel the difference between a 5 & 15 minute commute is not huge…

  • Bought a house in Oak forest in “93” for $50,000 and sold it 5 years later for $150,000. Oh how i bragged amount my investment prowess. If I had only had enough sense to stay there another 10 or 12 yrs. DOH!!!!!

  • This summarization is wrong, or at least misleading:

    “Whole Foods Market Opening in Former Flagship Randall’s at 1407 S. Voss Rd. on April 8”

    The former Randall’s was demolished, so the new Whole Foods will not be opening “in” the Randalls.

    They will share the same street address though.