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?
- How To Vote in the 2012 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate [Swamplot]
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2012 [Swamplot]
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)