Houston 101

Houston By the Neighborhood: New Homes Replace Flea Market in Spring Branch

Spring Branch is undergoing a cultural shift.
Spring Branch is undergoing a cultural shift. Screenshot from HAR.com
What does Spring Branch mean to you? For parents, it's access to an award-winning school district that's worth paying a bit more in property values. For old school Houstonians, it's a region of phenomenal growth that saw tiny West Belt morph into the massive West Sam Houston Parkway/Beltway 8 — a blessing for commuters that also served as a make-shift reservoir during Tropical Storm Harvey's flooding.

This week we're looking at the area shepherded by the Spring Branch Management District, what some call "old Spring Branch," though there's so much new construction here that there aren't many midcentury gems remaining. Roughly bordered by Brittmoore to the west, Tanner and Hempstead to the north and I-10 to the south, the region dates back to the 1830s when German farmers first settled and named roads after their families: Conrad Sauer, Hillendahl and Gessner.

Since its formation in 2005, the SBMD has been concentrating on business and economic development, public safety, environmental and urban design, and mobility. We're excited about the latter, where Long Point is being reshaped into a true Main Street; they're looking at converting the existing four lanes into just two lanes with a center lane for left turns.

Other initiatives in progress or on the horizon with the SBMD are:
  • A multi-year project that will eventually connect the Addicks Reservoir Bike Trail and the White Oak Bayou Greenway
  • Moving forward with phase one of the Spring Branch trail project, giving trail access to Buffalo Creek and Edgewood Elementary Schools and Landrum Middle School
  • A public art program that will see temporary sculpture installations along Long Point
  • Reconstruction of Gessner that allows for storm waters to be stored underneath the roadway
  • Improvements to the 13-acre Haden Park at Long Point and Witte, including dog parks, an event lawn and stage, community garden and tennis courts
Results already can be seen from initiatives like these. The good news/bad news is that, over the past ten years, median home values have increased more than 36 percent. Great for anybody looking to sell; not so great for those paying S.B.I.S.D. property taxes or trying to buy. This growth of course means that the median household incomes have increased 29 percent.

We're also seeing cultural shifts in the area. They've really cracked down on graffiti, removing more than 6,700 instances from private and public property. And the once bustling eight-acre flea market at Long Point and Hillendahl is a thing of the past — in its place  is new construction by David Weekley Homes.

click to enlarge
Work is just about complete on this new construction at 1601 Ronson.
Rendering by LEAM Design + Build
So how much does it cost to live in Spring Branch and, more specifically, north of I-10? Let's take a look.
  • Investors interested in developing can purchase 1.41 acres on Dearborn for $2.65 million, 1.37 acres on Westview for $2.5 million, or 2.76 acres on Laverne for $2.163 million.
  • A five bedroom, new construction home at 1505 Monarch Oaks is listed for $2.099 million.
  • Not ready for move-in until 2020, a five bedroom home at 1409 Pine Chase is listed at $1.625 million.
  • Work is just about complete for new construction by LEAM Design + Build at 1601 Ronson. The architecture for this contemporary modern four bedroom home blends the indoors with the exterior living spaces. The property has been listed by Juan Maldonado of Wired International LLC for $1.275 million.

click to enlarge
This four bedroom home at 9840 Warwana has been recently renovated.
Photo by Frank Salas, Frank Salas Reflections
And we're happy to report that there still are some of those iconic ranch-style midcentury properties available in Spring Branch.
  • A three bedroom traditional built in 1941 at 43 Rollingwood is listed for $1.4 million.
  • Built in 1964 but recently renovated, the four bedroom home at 9840 Warwana sits on a double lot. It's been loaded up with all sorts of Energy Star features and has dark-stained beams in the living room, an open concept kitchen, and a sliding barn door in the master bedroom. This property has been listed by Yvonne Cazares of Re/Max Top Realty for $559,990.
  • Horses are actually allowed at a four bedroom traditional built in 1958 at 30 Shadow Lane, listed for $799,999.
  • Built in 1952, a three bedroom ranch style home at 1534 Glourie is listed for $795,000.
For information about other properties listed for sale in this market area, visit HAR.com.

For information about the Spring Branch Management District, visit sbmd.org.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney