On we go to the â€œneighborhoodâ€ categories in the 2011 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate! First: Which little slice of Houston deserves to win the award for Best Neighborhood Upgrade?
The official nominees, culled from your choices and descriptions, are listed below. Nowâ€™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 Swamplotâ€™s Facebook page â€” or all 4! (Thatâ€™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 Tuesday, December 27th.
The nominees for Best Neighborhood Upgrade are . . .
1. White Oak between Studewood and Heights Blvd. “Christianâ€™s Tailgate, Dâ€™Amicoâ€™s, BB’s, Tacos a Go-Go, the renovated Fitzgerald’s, Happy Fatz, Revival Market nearby, and the soon-to-be French cafe Sale-Sucre. Beer Island is no longer an island, but more of an archipelago. Write Now! led the way on the retail front, with a new record shop and dress shop following. Just up the way on Studewood: a new Sonoma wine bar and more retail coming soon. And still room available for more shops and restaurants.”
“It used to be that if you told someone you wanted to go to ____ on White Oak, they would say, â€œAre you sure?â€ — meaning why go to that dumpy street? Now, people still say, â€œAre you sure?â€ But they’re asking whether you want to deal with the crowds and parking.“
2. East Downtown. “The new soccer stadium is under construction, and so are the 2 light-rail lines that will converge there. Some much-needed street reconstruction is coming with each of these projects.The Columbia Tap hike-and-bike trail was installed just a year or so back. Finger Furniture ended up reopening. New restaurants such as Huynh, Moon Tower Inn, Calliopeâ€™s, and Epicurean Express continue to filter in to join the entertainment venues. Multiple new museums are opening up nearby. And it seems like there may actually be some momentum on the Promenade proposal, along with the proposed convention center hotel — which could be the first highrise for that neighborhood.”
3. The Oak Forest Library Renovation, 1349 W. 43rd St. “They kept the beautiful original mod look, but freshened it up a bit and added a neighborhood-friendly second entrance on Oak Forest Dr. A terrific improvement for a great neighborhood.”
4. New Sidewalks on White Oak just East of Houston Ave., connecting Woodland Heights to the Near Northside over I-45. “There hasn’t been safe pedestrian access on this block for decades. It lets Northsiders walk safely to Woodland Park and Stude Park; for Woodland Heights, it’ll provide a convenient pedestrian route to the upcoming light-rail stop at N. Main and Quitman.”
7. Resurfacing of Shepherd Dr. from Memorial to Washington, Rice Military and Magnolia Grove. “How about something Houstonians can really get behind — like their steering wheels? The new smoother surface has truly changed the lives of anyone who drove this pockmarked stretch of asphalt and had to risk wheel and axle. Instead of sounding like tennis shoes in a dryer, my car now sounds like a sleek jet engine! Backhanded compliments to the City of Houston for finally getting around to doing its job.”
8. Conversion of Inwood Forest Golf Course to a City Park, Antoine at W. Little York. “220 acres of open space and detention ponds. No greens fees.”
9. Street Art, Montrose and the Heights. “Each time I see one of Coolidgeâ€™s pink pigs, little ponies, Boston terriers, or T-Rexs, it makes me smile and happy to live in the Heights! I know this is somewhat controversial and that these guys and girls are breaking the law by defacing public and private property. But at the same time these pieces bring joy and life and humor and perspective. And I am not alone. Google Coolidge and youâ€™ll see links to peopleâ€™s Photobucket accounts and blog entries where they’ve photo-safariâ€™d these ‘public works.’ It appears that these artists are creating a little micro-tourism hub in the Heights and Montrose.”
10. Kirby Dr. between Westheimer and Richmond, Upper Kirby. “West Ave, 2727 Kirby, straighter oaks, a whole new streetscape. Itâ€™s now actually . . . nice!“
Okay,Â neighborhood experts! This year, which one of these nominees has earned the title of Houstonâ€™s Best Neighborhood Upgrade?
- How To Vote in the 2011 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate [Swamplot]
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2011 [Swamplot]
Photos: Candace Garcia (Happy Fatz and D’Amico’s on White Oak; White Oak sidewalks; Whole Foods; H-E-B; St. Agnes; Shepherd Dr.; Kirby); Flickr user lc_db (Dynamo Stadium); Natalye Appel + Associates Architects, Architect Works, and James Ray Architects (Oak Forest Library); Travis Foote (Inwood Forest Golf Course); Paul Viscontini (Brontosaurus)