Here it is, the official ballot for Neighborhood of the Year. It’s the next-to-last category for the 2013 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, and it all came together thanks to your nominations.
Just a note: This category is for neighborhood of the year. If we had wanted to name this category best neighborhood, we would have. For Neighborhood of the Year, you get to decide what the criteria are — and which nominee deserves the award. Of course, it sure helps if you explain your reasoning as you cast your vote.
And the nominees are:
1. Eastwood. “Great neighborhood for everyone (families and singles alike), decent housing stock, new construction, new businesses moving in, close to Inner Loop attractions, and still mostly affordable. Dynamo — er, BBVA Compass — Stadium is next door in EaDo (I hate calling it that), and the light rail on its way. They say it’s the ‘new Montrose.'”
2. Germantown Historic District. “This tiny neighborhood of 71 homes tucked between Woodland Heights and I-45 used the historic preservation ordinance to protect itself from a big, bad developer — without drawing the wrath of haters.”
3. The Woodlands. “Sure it’s nice, but The Woodlands deserves our appreciation for what it’s done for the rest of the Houston area. Without it, real estate prices in Houston would be like inside the beltway in DC. The Woodlands has done an excellent job at luring away many a million-dollar home buyer from Houston. The Woodlands has also done a great job at building up enough arts, entertainment and ‘culture’ to keep people busy on the weekends instead of coming down to Houston and taking 15 minutes to parallel park (even with the assistance of a spotter who jumps out of the car and violently waves instructions to the driver) and buttering their tortillas before making their fajitas at Tex-Mex restaurants (I have actually seen this and it still haunts me to this day). The key to Houston emerging from being nothing more than a typical Southern city with a hollow core that is nothing more than a 9-to-5 business center and sprawling suburbs is to have somewhere for people to live who cannot deal with the hustle, bustle, and diversity of a thriving metropolis. The Woodlands is just that place.”
4. Oak Forest. “2013 seems to have been a ‘tipping point’ year for Oak Forest, where the residents have come together to cause good things to happen, rather than just watching while others controlled the action. Fundraising efforts have occurred, security programs implemented — things you have seen next door in Garden Oaks for years. The quality of Oak Forest Elementary and the improvements occurring at Black Middle School don’t hurt a bit. OF seems to have a good present and an excellent future.”
5. Norhill. “It’s one of the few, maybe only, Heights-area neighborhoods to have escaped the scourge of New Charlestorleans-style homes, humper house additions and the light industrial/garden apartments that infiltrated the area in the ’60s and ’70s. It even has sidewalks and a park! Deed restrictions and historic district status have helped it keep the original look, and attract the type of buyer who wants and appreciates that look.”
6. Brooke Smith. “Although it’s still rough around the edges, older properties have been purchased by developers and investors who are working with the original bones and maintaining a similar aesthetic to other homes within the neighborhood. Just in the last year or so there’s been significant change. Thankfully, the former unbridled 3-story townhouse tsunami has been contained, and the focus has redirected onto single family homes that aren’t built to the lot lines. Also, many original owners have taken to repairing and fixing up their homes. Montie Beach Park is flourishing with the neighborhood’s active Civic Club, and it’s awesome to go to the park and see people partaking in classes, basketball, or soccer games and kids playing with their families. I love how it’s diverse (working class, young professionals, families, couples, singles), and it’s easy to walk or bike to the Heights and Woodland Heights. D&T Drive Inn opened this year, and it’s brought in a bunch of new faces into the neighborhood. It makes me happy to see that people are actually coming into the neighborhood for drinks and a bite to eat with their family and friends. And really — where else can you get 24-hour donuts (Shipley) and Mexican food (Teotihuacan) at 9:30 on a Monday night? (For the nights where you need a backup plan, there’s Whataburger!) HCAD agrees with me — it raised my property taxes 43 percent. (I wish I were joking.)”
7. The Shepherd Parks. “Shepherd Park Plaza, Candlelight Plaza, and Shepherd Park Terrace are neighbors with the GOOFers, but still somewhat more affordable. All 3 have great neighborhood organizations, and you can’t beat the holiday lights! There are teardowns and new builds happening even in Shepherd Park Terrace — much sooner than anyone probably anticipated — as people are priced out of Garden Oaks and Oak Forest.”
One of these will be crowned Neighborhood of the Year for 2013. Which one should it be?
- How To Vote in the 2013 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate [Swamplot]
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2013 [Swamplot]