Mario Williams has a habit of making history. Honored by the Houston Texans as the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, he went on to record 53 sacks for the team — a franchise record only surpassed by J.J. Watt in 2014. And to this day he holds the all-time three-season sack record at his alma mater, North Carolina State.
But now it is your turn to be a part of NFL history. His Memorial-area mansion hit the market in Houston last week, and for $8.45 million you could make this majestic home yours.
Moving the goalposts of real estate
Co-listing the property are Krista McGowen and Julia Wang of NextGen Real Estate: the brand-new Houston-based brokerage that has hit the ground running like Brandin Cooks runs the forty. Since its formation in November 2020, NextGen has already signed 70 agents and branched out of Houston into other major markets in Texas.
“NextGen has fast become the home of real estate’s brightest and best,” explains CEO/broker Wang. “We are top-producing agents in our respective fields, whether residential or commercial, who are renowned for our next-level service and marketing. Representing clients from the realm of sports and entertainment is a natural progression for us, and we count a number of pro athletes across North America among our client base.”
But for McGowen, the former Texans defensive end is more than a client. While she might have met Williams through her husband, the distinguished athletic trainer Rischad Whitfield, instead their paths crossed thanks to serendipity. A chance meeting while car-shopping sparked a 15-year friendship that now sees the two teaming up to sell his knock-out Sherwood Forest home.
The home team
“Mario is such a great guy to work with,” Krista says. “So easygoing and open to all my professional recommendations, which is just as well … because the first thing I asked him to do to prepare his home for market was paint the entire first floor a beautiful shade of off-white!”
And that’s a lot of wall to cover with three coats of custom-mixed Benjamin Moore paint. The interior stands at an imposing 12,000-plus square feet with an additional 1,350-square-foot guest apartment overlooking the secluded resort pool and landscaping. Even without its celebrity claim to fame, this princely 1.5-acre estate would stand out for its incomparable size so close to both the city’s best schools and all the action that the Inner Loop has to offer.
As if the elegance and exclusivity of this home isn’t enough, the neighborhood “local” happens to be the world-renowned Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, with its eight tennis courts, rock-climbing wall, boxing ring, and assortment of dining and treatment options.
Of course, the home’s location right off the Loop is prime for commuting anywhere in the city: the Galleria (4.4 miles), downtown (7.9 miles), NRG Stadium (11.1 miles), Texas Medical Center (12.3 miles), and Bush Intercontinental Airport (25.6 miles).
Play to win
But would you ever really leave when your own backyard is on a par with the finest of luxury resorts? Added in 2013, the sprawling 15-foot diving pool has played host to many a star-studded party. A bridge takes you to a private cabana, complete with fireplace, sitting area, TV, swim-up bar, and barbecue grill. Truly the pinnacle of outdoor play, the extent of this landscaping includes cascading waterfalls, Jacuzzis, a slide, grotto, and fire features throughout.
Meanwhile, the layout inside is palatial. Open spaces with beautiful flow are complemented by cozy nooks for work and play. There are no nickel-and-dime packages here: every last fixture befits football royalty, from barrel-vaulted ceilings and sweeping staircases to leaded-glass windows and rusticated hardwood double doors.
“Mediterranean” is used a lot in real estate descriptions, but let’s be honest: this is the finest architecture of the Italian Renaissance, barely a field length from Memorial Drive.
For all its Old World charm, this 21st-century smart home benefits from the best of cutting-edge technology, including a climate-controlled wine room, top-of-the-line Thermador appliances, a movie theater with stadium seating, and surround sound throughout. These expansive standards also extend to the self-contained guest apartment, as well as the nine-car garage and third-story flex space.
“Proud to be a Texan”
In his first press conference as an NFL pro, Williams talked about how he was “proud to be a Texan.” But even after a four-year stint with the Bills and a season in Miami, his love for this city and the home that he built here is obvious with its immaculate condition and the many lavish upgrades he has designed over the years, including the resort pool and master retreat.
Added in 2013, the primary bedroom includes a sitting room, a 360-degree dressing room, and an opulent bathroom with its owner’s insignia tiled into the oversized travertine floor. Even if you don’t happen to share his monogram, imagine waking up every morning to a “W” for the win!
If that isn’t affirmation enough, the custom-built dual closets are pure sartorial inspiration: “hers” benefits from ample natural light, an additional vanity, and shoe storage that can hold hundreds of pairs, while “his” is as dapper as it gets with aged oak paneling and a considered array of storage options.
With houseguests in mind, Williams specified that each of the four secondary bedrooms should also have its own ensuite and enormous closet with custom shelving.
His Houston roots seem to run as deep as his long-term investment in this property, which goes far beyond fancy built-ins and premium finishes to include a whole-home generator and a retention pond — both essentials in protecting any home of this magnitude from the extreme weather events that Houston is apt to experience.
The NextGen playbook
Luckily for Houston, Williams is only moving to the outskirts of the city, where he will build a brand-new home on a lot secured for him by McGowen. Her niche of helping high-profile sports professionals find temporary or forever homes in Houston would seem to fit well with the NextGen modus operandi of carving out deep specialisms in an industry rife with part-time agents and dilettantes.
“There is no other brokerage that embodies the forward-thinking way I do business — that celebrates originality and uses social media and technology to its fullest extent as a driver for sales and marketing,” says McGowen. “This combination of high energy and dedication — the willingness to think outside the box and switch things up to get the win — is what speaks so strongly to sports professionals and makes us the best fit for them.”
Already Houston’s fastest-growing brokerage, you have to wonder what’s next for NextGen. Among many exciting developments across a number of cities, their thriving sports and entertainment division is surely one to watch.
“I can’t give away too much for obvious reasons,” hints Wang. “But I can confirm that we have some exciting things in the works with our home team, in addition to working with several NFL players from all over the U.S. If you’re a free agent, hit us up!” Here’s looking at you, J.J.
Beat the bull rush
Always inclined to go beyond, especially when it comes to an open house, these next generation agents are bringing their creative A-game to the marketing of this A-list celebrity home.
“Watch this space,” Wang says with a knowing smile. “We’re always extra … but this one will be the Super Bowl of extra!”
In this hot market of historically low inventory, you don’t want wait until overtime to make this majestic home yours. For an exclusive tour of all its baller features, be sure to call Krista McGowen or Julia Wang at 832-736-1673.