Comment of the Day Runner-Up: Looking Sharp

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: LOOKING SHARP “The Bellairefication of Meyerland is pretty much complete except you actually get a sizeable lot. It’s only a matter of time before Southwest Houston’s astronomical growth reaches Sharpstown and other once forgotten communities.” [robertrulez, commenting on The Ups and Downs of a Meyerland Contemporary] Illustration: Lulu

24 Comment

  • It may be a wee bit ambitious to put Sharpstown in this projection. Though I mean what’s not to like: high crime, terrible schools, poorly built houses of dubious design etc. I understand it’s location is advantageous, however the area is still undesirable.

  • Sharpstown still has a couple of decades before it starts turning around. The schools are still bad and the property values have not reached the tipping point where new construction can demand prices enough to cover the old demo house plus the cost of said construction.

  • I’ve seen many comments just like this and I don’t think the realities on the ground reflect the high-minded ideal folks seem to have in their head for this area. By that same token, I’m sure Westbury Square is gonna gentrify anytim… OH WAIT.

  • Terrible schools? Exemplary elementary schools like Sutton, option to send to Pin Oak for middle, and well high school is the problem undoubtedly but the magnet program has preferences for students in these areas just fyi. Don’t forget all the excellent privates within the area as well. Crime is a not a big issue in the neighborhood proper. Quality of homes? They’re still standing last time I checked. You won’t be able to say the same for some of the recent homes built in the suburbs just fyi. Sharpstown has more to offer than just location. Oh and the food… sweet jesus the food.

  • oh and just fyi no one moves to a gentrifying neighborhood for the schools.

  • Every old neighborhood revitalized during the past 30 years was a direct result of people being a “wee bit ambitious”. New residents (urban pioneers) were a “wee bit ambitious”, the small businesses that sprouted up to support them were a “wee bit ambitious”, the restaurants, bars, and cafes were all a “wee bit ambitious”. And over time, those neighborhoods hit a tipping point and flipped. Every single revitalized neighborhood during the past half century was a result of these people being a “wee bit ambitious” and seeing charm in what others considered trash.

  • I had a Pasadena real-estate agent tell me that SE was going to come back. “People will want the land to build high-rises close to downtown”, she said.

    Um, yeah, okay.

  • There was an agent in the 80’s that said the same thing about uptown, and there were people who laughed…guaranteed. Nobody can predict the future.

  • I’ve been to Sharpstown, the schools are not good, please and who buys a 100000 house and sends their kids to private schools? I don’t know anyone who wants to live in that area, it doesn’t have cool bungalow ala Eastwood or near culture, Third Ward and crime is! a major issue in this area, it mostly why nobody would set foot in the Mall. This area was never nice, how do you gentrify an area that was never nice to begin with. I appreciate those who have bought here wanting to shill for the area, but if you’ve ever been in that area you’d have a very different view, it’s very dicey and if the houses were cool maybe, but they’re awful!

  • The saving grace of Sharpstown will be people who 1: are sick of renting and/or whose cheap Inner Loop apartment has been bulldozed to make way for a luxury mid rise; 2: can’t afford to buy anything Inside the Loop; and 3: dont want to move way out to the suburbs.
    Until very recently, people like this could buy a place in Oak Forest or Westbury. But they’re being priced out of those neighborhoods now, too. Eventually they’re going to find Sharpstown is the best option

  • WASP – Bellaire was never nice until it gentrified. In fact, houses in Bellaire were about the same as houses in Sharpstown when they were originally built. That’s why there were so many tear-downs in Bellaire in the 1990s and 2000s.
    And the schools will always lag the neighborhood in scenarios like this. The first people to “discover” an overlooked neighborhood are usually young couples, gays, and people in Richard Florida’s “creative class”. In other words, people with no kids. (Eventually they start to have kids, stay, and send their kids to the schools, but it takes a while)

  • This is my Sharpstown experience:
    Please keep in mind while reading- I am merely sharing my experience. I am not saying this will happen to others, or that it is the norm for Sharpstown… Just that it happened to me.
    I tried living in Sharpstown… I rented a home for about 2 years in Country Club Terrace phase 3. At first, this seemed like a fantastic idea. The home had reasonable rent, 4 bedrooms, 3 car garage, in-ground pool, and the landlord was (and still is) a great guy.

    But let me tell you… It is downright terrifying waking up in the middle of the night while someone is actively trying to break into your home. And then, picture this man pointing RIGHT AT YOU through the flimsy 1960s window. I will never forget his face as long as I live. Thank goodness for my dogs scaring him away.
    I also experienced people aggressively begging for money while I was inside Fiesta grocery shopping. Not just begging, but getting very angry and cursing when I wasn’t interested in providing a donation.
    The main streets are littered with apartments, pawn shops, check cashing, crooked bodyshops, and general blight. Do you want your wife standing out there pumping gas in this area? I don’t.

    I also grew tired of disinterested homeowners not maintaining their properties- and the “voluntary” HOA not being able to enforce anything. My neighbor’s pool turned green on a semi-regular basis… Yum. Other houses on our street (Carvel Ln) appeared abandoned, or had detached garages that were in the process of caving in. You think Hurricane Ike is over? Tell that to some of our neighbors who still have masking tape on their windows.
    I also remember driving to work down Jorine St, and wondering whose garage door would have fresh graffiti on it this time.

    Maybe the area will appreciate, and maybe it won’t– but for me, it just wasn’t worth the stress. Crime can happen in any neighborhood, but I sure do sleep a lot better now that I’m gone.

  • When I first moved to Woodland Heights in the 80s, responsible parents were more likely to strip naked and perform a tarantella on the Houston Avenue overpass than to send their kids to Travis, and I got burgled frequently enough to do my very own comparison test of TVs.

    Things change.

  • Sharpstown was in its original form very cool. It had a Country Club and the whole suburban sha-bang. So, I guess you’re young-ish, no 9?

    A series of unfortunate events, including the boom apartments and the bust, took things in the wrong direction quickly.

    Still, some of the single family neighborhoods hold on. The crime is less in those parts than I experience in my gentrified hood.

    Then, I read these and never know which parts people are talking about. Sharpstown is huge. People could mean behind the mall, up to the Beltway, all the way to Robindell, over to Braes Valley. That’s vast and varied. I could go section by section saying, yes, no, no, yes, to areas I would consider living in ever. Varied and vast.

    Ive known those who live there and make use of the private schools. People do it. So, that’s that.

    Not saying what will happen. Who knows? I think whatever positive comes will not be for the whole big area, but in small parts. So, you may get good parts getting better while maintaining enough sh#*y Sharpstown to satisfy everyone’s broad brushes.

  • The comments on this blog about neighborhoods in Houston are pretty humorous if taken in the aggregate. Earlier this week there were people dissing The Woodlands as souless, and home to the Stepford Wives. Here we have people praising and dissing Sharpstown. Not a few weeks ago, people were questioning why anyone would ever buy a townhome in the Third Ward.
    Truth is, metropolitan Houston is a HUGE area, as big as the entire state of Rhode Island, and contains a plethora of neighborhoods. They vary widely, because the people who inhabit Houston vary widely in their income levels, education levels, ethnicity, and background. In the end, there’s a place for just about everyone here. You may not personally like it, but at the right price point, someone else will.
    Is The Woodlands better than Sharpstown? Is Old Spring Branch better than the Fourth Ward? Just depends on what you’re looking for and what your priorities are.

  • @Daniel. Well written and chilling, you made my point exactly. As for Bellaire, it always had good schools and cozied up to West U who cozied up to Southampton and to compare Sharpstown to the Heights is Apples and Oranges. Woodland Heights had great old bungalows, granted run down but great none the less, and yes it was rough, I’m
    mean reading about Dean Corll is revolting, but it had great attraction to the urban pioneers, but Sharpstown…. Never! the houses are very poorly built and it’s a VERY rough area. Glad you moved, dude

  • @WASP

    Please stay in the woodlands. Thank you.

    Sorry for your bad experience. My family has lived there for decades and they have never experience anything of that nature.

    @everyone else
    Sharpstown is a diamond in a rough. It is what it is. Montrose is “hot”, but it’s quite sketchy (drug dealers and prostitution everywhere). That’s the reality of urban living. The reality of Sharpstown however is that it’s HOT. Values are rising in Country Club Terrace and people are snagging those homes up quick. It is the cultural epicenter of the city and people are beginning to realize it. The path of growth is obviously going west/southwest and Sharpstown is right in the path and those too closed off in their bubble will be left out once the horrors of urbanism reach their enclave.

  • I’m sorry you had a negative experience living in Sharpstown, Daniel.
    Bad things can happen anywhere. About 7 years ago, my then-employer moved from Upper Kirby to Midtown. On one occasion I was walking to the new office in broad daylight. There was a scruffy looking guy in front of me who, all of a sudden, plunked himself down, pulled out a needle, and proceeded to shoot what I assume was heroin into himself. Right on the sidewalk, in broad daylight, in Midtown.
    On another occasion, I arrived to my old office in Midtown to find a bunch of police cruisers in the parking lot. It turns out we were the victim of a smash and grab overnight. They broke a window and stole several computers. It was the first (and last) time my office has been burglarized. My then-employer wound up spending a ton of money to install coiling security shutters on all of the office windows. (Bye-bye bonuses that year).
    Why do I bring this up? Because whenever we talk about developments in the Sharpstown area, someone inevitably says “oh I lived there [years ago] and it wasn’t a good experience.” I, for one, always felt safer in Sharpstown than I did in Midtown. But more to the point: just because you had a bad experience years ago, it does not mean the whole neighborhood will always be bad.
    Shadyheightster: Good point. Sharpstown itself is huge. The area people call “Sharptown” is even bigger. I should confess that my experiences with “Sharpstown” are actually from the Braeburn area directly to the south of Sharpstown proper. I lived in Larkwood from 2007 to 2012 and still own the house there as a rental.
    The first tentative tear-downs are actually starting in Robindell and Braeburn Terrace. Will it spread north and west to Sharpstown proper? Only time will tell, but I think eventually it will.

  • I’ve grown up in this city and watched the city change all my life. One constant was Sharpstown always being sketchy as hell. The people with skin in the game (homeowners, astroturfers) MUST defend Sharpstown, because to say anything else would be an admission of failure on their part. Failure to really see that expansive area as the blight it has actually always been. Failure to choose a property that will appreciate – in short a waste of moolah. I get it folks, really I do. The worst part though, especially from a historic perspective, is the fact that those poorly built homes were intended for our Veterans. Plenty of shame to go around in Sharpstown from the homeowners to the check cashing and full release massage places. People that have not had a break-in, assault or robbery in good ol’ Sharpstown are the exception, not the norm. Many a friend growing up lived in Sharpstown proper, some were in Braes but all of it has ALWAYS been a ghetto area that was content to look shabby and rundown. Someone further up was correct – Sharpstown, unlike the heights, is not adjoined to any valuable areas in Houston / Southwest Houston and will not find succor on a gentrifying teat. The silly apologists that come to threads like this and astroturf for Sharpstown aren’t fooling any of the natives around here.

  • Mother Hydra – I’m not sure you intended to, but you summd up the prejudices that drag Sharpstown down. There’s a belief among lots of people that somehow Sharpstown cant improve. I’m sure someone would have said the same thing about The Heights or Bellaire in the 1970s. Those areas were depressed for a long time. But they eventually improved and so can Sharpstown.
    As far as Sharpstown being cut off from wealth – that’s just flatly wrong. It abuts the West Belt on the west, and Memorial on the North. Were it not for the fact that it’s separated from Uptown and Bellaire by Gulfton, it probably would have already turned.

  • I’ve never lived in Sharpstown, but my grandparents did (specifically, the original Sharpstown subdivision to the east of HBU, not CCT to its west) after they succumbed to the blockbusting in the Palm Center area. It was a perfectly respectable area in the ’60s and ’70s.

    The irony is, rumor has it that Frank Sharp was one of the ringleaders of the blockbusting in SE Houston, because Sharpstown wasn’t selling quickly enough. While the houses may have qualified for VA financing, it wasn’t really a returning veterans’ starter neighborhood – it was developed for the most part in the ’60s.

  • anent what is now called the Gulfton Ghetto:
    (today’s earworm for Those Of Us Of A Certain Age: a breathy “Hi! I’m Michael Pollack!”)

  • Zaw — Bellaire was never ghetto, and the schools (high school in particular) have always been some of the best in Houston. The Heights on the other hand, that is/was a different story.

    I’m not sure that the housing stock in Sharpstown is any worse/better than the Heights/Montrose (other than slab v. pier and beam). Most are not great quality (obviously there are exceptions).

    Wasp — I’m fairly certain you’re just trolling . . . .

  • Trolling because they have nothing better to do. Well adjusted people dont lurk on the internet looking for arguments. Something tells me there is a very sad person out there in Houston today…