The circle of life can be found right here in the Bayou City. The historic Brays Oaks district experienced a tremendous building boom back in the 1970s and early '80s with new single family homes and major retailers, then the region fell out of favor as homeowners discovered shinier, up-and-coming neighborhoods.
But that's all changed and Brays Oaks is on the upswing again with affordable housing, good schools, proximity to the Texas Medical Center, and quite a bit of revitalization.
"The Brays Oaks district is a really big geographic district and there are some differences between the neighborhoods. Westbury/Parkwest is one of the most popular," says real estate broker Susan Brock of Brock & Foster Real Estate. "It's the second biggest development in Houston, second to Sharpstown."
While there are ups and downs within the school district, Brock singles out Parker Elementary. "It's a music magnet; they teach the Suzuki method. Beyoncé enrolled there, and they just got a new campus which is super cool. Kolter Elementary is really good; it flooded so they're building a new campus and that is a foreign language magnet," adds Brock.
And she sees nothing but good news on the horizon for Westbury High School. "They're turning that school around," says Brock. "They just built a new fine arts wing. The principal Susan Monaghan is a phenomenal leader; she came from Pin Oak Middle School in Bellaire. She is very committed to the school; she's brought a lot of change."
In visiting the Brays Oaks Management District's website, we discovered several education initiatives on the drawing board: Houston Baptist University is starting construction on a major expansion that will roll out over several phases, Houston Community College has acquired 12 acres that will serve as the site for a new Workforce Development Campus, and Westbury Christian School is revamping the old Westland YMCA to create a major athletic complex.
Civic projects include the Harris County Flood Control District and its ongoing excavation of the 291-acre Willow Waterhole Detention Basin to create a recreational park with trails, plantings and habitat restoration. The Los Angeles-based Levitt Foundation is planning to install an outdoor entertainment pavilion there at Willow Waterhole Park.
Let's take a look at the housing market in this neighborhood.
Built in 1960, this impeccably restored midcentury modern home at 5702 Warm Springs comes with a provenance. It was listed on the 1959 Greater Houston Builders Association's Parade of Homes and is known as "The Giveaway House." Improvements that make it unique include cork and tile flooring, a vintage wooden room divider that folds, and period-correct accents throughout. The bold red front door is flanked with frosted glass insets, the dining room tiled floor contains pops of color, and the kitchen features a pale aquamarine oven, counter and accents. The sellers have so embraced the era with their furnishings that the property doubles as an informal museum. This property has been listed by Rene Sorola with Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan for $350,000.
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Fondren Middle School and nearby to Stein Family Park, this five-bedroom home at 9514 Bob White features new dark wood flooring, a renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and a large slate deck in the back yard. Built in 1965, architectural details include arched entry ways, sliding barn doors in the kitchen and master bedroom, and painted beams in the living room. The property has been listed by Angela Pipes with Redfin Corporation Houston for $419,000.
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This custom home at 8316 Summit Place is in the Frontenac subdivision of Brays Oaks and features a circular driveway, two sets of stairs, and a dramatic entryway with a sparkling chandelier. The master bath features a separate tub and shower with stained glass plus a closet to die for, while the 2007 construction means it's got all sorts of Energy Star features built in, including Anderson Low-E double pane windows and doors, and insulating concrete form exterior walls. This property has been listed by Stayce Nguyen with Lone Star Realty for $484,500 (purchase) or $2,895/month (rental).
If you snooze, you lose. Susan Brock of Brock & Foster Real Estate just closed on the three bedroom home at 6135 Wigton in Brays Oaks (shown at the top of this page). Built in 1965, the property featured an open floor plan with cathedral ceiling, plus recent updates to the roof, HVAC and solar panels. Custom accents included kitchen cabinets, a master closet with built-ins, and a backyard pergola patio. The property sold for between $370,001 and $420,000.
To learn more about the Brays Oaks Management District, visit BraysOaksMD.org.