History of Sharpstown

Sharpstown is a master-planned community in the Southwest Management District, in Houston, Texas.  At the time of its conception its plan was visionary and Sharpstown became one of the first communities to be built as a master-planned, automobile centered community in the United States and the very first in Houston. Frank Sharp (1906–1993), the developer of the subdivision, made provisions not only for homes but also for schools, shopping and recreation areas. While this model has since been duplicated countless times over the past fifty years, at the time it was quite revolutionary and attracted national media attention. The development was dedicated on March 13, 1955.
Sharp donated to the state of Texas a 300-foot-wide strip of land passing through the development for construction of the Southwest Freeway (Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59). This ensured easy access from Downtown Houston to homes in the neighborhood and to PlazAmericas (formerly Sharpstown Mall and Sharpstown Center), Houston's very first air-conditioned, enclosed shopping mall.
Sadly, in the 1970’s Sharp and others, all the way up to and including many members of the Texas State Legislature, undertook unethical stock dealings in real estate in Sharpstown.  These dealings were the basis for the famous “Sharpstown Scandal” and the uncovering of the “Dirty Thirty” members of the 1971 Texas House of Representatives who were involved.  The upshot was to cast suspicion on investments and valuations in the town with the serious impact that upkeep of, and new investments in, the community almost completely stopped, apartment complexes became run down, and the area became socioeconomically depressed in the 80’s and 90’s.
However, with its easy access to downtown Houston and its energetic, racially diverse population, Sharpstown is now gradually rebounding. The Houston Press named it the 2010 "Best Hidden Neighborhood” in Houston, and, in 2013, Houstonia magazine declared Sharpstown to be one of Houston’s "Hottest Neighborhoods".  Today, Sharpstown epitomizes all that is good and bad about Houston.  The Mall and many businesses are once again growing and new investment is flowing in yet, at the same time, there remain disadvantaged areas of apartment housing where migrants and refugees struggle to get on their feet. 
Rather than being a cautionary and sad story, however, we can recognize that the Sharpstown of today is a place of opportunity and growth. New business investments mean a stronger economy and more and improved jobs and the predominantly youthful migrant and refugee populations have energy to build a thriving future if they are given education and opportunities.