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Former Rocket acquires historic site along Clear Lake

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Astroholic, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Astroholic

    Astroholic Member

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    Former Rocket acquires historic site along Clear Lake
    Olajuwon scores again

    By NANCY SARNOFF
    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

    Former basketball star Hakeem Olajuwon has purchased the historic West mansion along Clear Lake, a Mediterranean-style estate on 41 acres of prime property.

    Built in 1929 and designed by prominent architect Joseph Finger, the home at 3303 E. NASA Parkway was built for the family of oil, lumber and cattle baron James Marion West. His son, Jim West Jr., was a colorful millionaire known as "Silver Dollar Jim" because of his penchant for showering silver dollars on those around him.

    Olajuwon, who bought the property for an undisclosed price, is planning to sell it to developers, who could build high-rise residential buildings, retail centers or medical facilities there.

    "It's a typical Hakeem move of buying the primo site," said David Cook, a real estate broker with Cushman & Wakefield who represented Olajuwon in the purchase and is now marketing the property for sale. Olajuwon bought the property from the Pappas family of Houston, which owns restaurant chains.

    Although he no longer lives in Houston, Olajuwon has become an active real estate investor in the city.

    Over the years, the retired Houston Rockets center has purchased many high-profile sites, including the southwest corner of Kirby Drive and the Southwest Freeway, the city's former Federal Reserve Bank building, the old World Trade Center building near Minute Maid Park and a historic downtown bank building, which he turned into a mosque. He's made millions on the sale of many of these properties.

    Olajuwon, who now lives in Jordan, could not be reached for comment. It is expected that the property will be divided and sold in parcels, similar to what he did with land he acquired at Kirby and the Southwest Freeway, according to Cook. What was once the Westheimer Transfer & Storage facility is now a CVS and Chick-fil-A.

    A 35,000-acre spread
    Surrounded by mature trees and Spanish moss, the West estate was part of 35,000 acres that the family patriarch assembled in the 1920s, according to the Houston Architectural Guide. A portion of that property is now the Johnson Space Center.

    Located in Pasadena, the entire property is appraised at just over $3 million, according to the Harris County Appraisal District, but its market value is much higher.

    Property along the water in this rapidly growing area is selling for an average of between $25 and $30 per square foot, according to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

    Developers have been grabbing land around the lake for high-rise residential, hotel and other real estate projects.

    "There's a bunch of people that would love to have that mansion," said Barbara Cutsinger, marketing manager for the Bay Area group. "It's one of the most beautiful settings."

    Immediately adjacent to the estate, a developer is selling upscale townhomes for between $300,000 and $500,000.

    The company says on its Web site that the project's "Italianate-styled architecture" was inspired by its neighbor, the West mansion.

    The house has been vacant for many years and is in need of serious renovations.

    Legend has it that the family moved to River Oaks after Jim West Sr. died, stipulating in his will that the home on Clear Lake would never be used as a residence again. It stayed vacant for decades and was often the target of vandals.

    It later became the Lunar Planetary Science Institute, and some of its interior architectural charm was replaced by commercial embellishments like acoustical tile ceilings.

    What's next?
    Now that it has a new owner, the property's future is unclear.

    Its designation as a recorded Texas Historic Landmark and its placement on the National Register don't preclude it from being demolished, according to the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. It does, however, allow for substantial tax benefits if someone wanted to restore it.

    "The West mansion is the most significant and visible historic landmark in that part of Harris County," said Ramona Davis, executive director of the alliance. "We're encouraged that the West mansion is now owned by someone who has the resources to restore this beautiful house to its former grandeur."
     
  2. Kam

    Kam Contributing Member

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    you gotta post link to articles.

    (unless you wrote it)

    same with the other thread you started in the the NBA forum i saw.

    i'm done policing.
     
  3. kpsta

    kpsta Contributing Member

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  4. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    Damn Hakeem. I love you and all but why do you want to buy historic building to sell just so it can be demolished to put up more crap? That area won't be the same without it. It has been there forever. :( :mad:
     
    sirbaihu likes this.
  5. Achilleus

    Achilleus Member

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    "Built in 1929..." No it hasnt, silly. Not even a hundred years.
     
    REEKO_HTOWN likes this.
  6. Yetti

    Yetti Contributing Member

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    it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter the Kingdom Of God.
     
    sirbaihu likes this.
  7. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    Here is a photo. What you dont see is all the 35,000 acres and trees etc. This building sits right on the corner of NASA and the lake. I see deer and other wild animals cruising the grounds all the time. It will be a real shame if it goes down to put up a Stop and Go.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. updawg

    updawg Member

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    it is a shame that this is happening. If it wasn't Dream I'd be really pissed. At least Tookies is still down there :)
     
  9. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    Concur. This ticks me off too.
     
  10. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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  11. rocketman84

    rocketman84 Member

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    who cares if Hakeem bought it. The corporate world would have eventually offered enough to buy it from the Pappas family anyway and the same thing would have happened. Dont hate on Hakeem, hate on housing expansion or something.....
     
  12. jaredg777

    jaredg777 Contributing Member

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    This property is what my house looks out over and i really wanted it to stay like it is. However, Olajuwon is prohibited from tearing down the mansion (it's supposed to be turned into a spa of some sort). The rest of the property is supposed to be turned into an outdoor mall (kind of like Uptown Park). It's not all bad, and it'll probably be really nice. The mansion is some sort of historical sight so it'll still be there...fyi
     
  13. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    Hooray, just what we need down here. More frikkin' shopping malls.
     
  14. Irfan

    Irfan Member

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    so basically you are saying...don't hate the player, hate the game. :p
     
  15. professorjay

    professorjay Contributing Member

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    More like don't hate the drug dealers, hate the addicts who buy from them. It doesn't matter, you're still part of the machine either way.
     
  16. rage

    rage Member

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    I don't think this property is 35,000 acres. There isn't any piece of contiguous land that big and close in to town any more. It must be part of the orginal 35,000 acres that has been split up many times over.
    Is this at the corner of NASA parkway and Space Center blvd? A wild guess would put it at 10 acres maybe.
     
  17. rage

    rage Member

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    Never mind, the Chron story says 41 acre. That is a good place if he only paid 3 mil for it.
     
  18. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    How much has Hakeem donated to charity? Will any of the profits of Hakeem's real estate venture be used to save lives? Is a building worth this?

    I don't know what he plans on doing with the money, but will hold out judgement that he will do something good with the money.
     
  19. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    The vast majority of the original property is now NASA. Yes, it is the corner of NASA Rd. I (I hate the new name) and Space Center Boulevard.
     
  20. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    It's really none of your or my business what he does with the money. Hakeem is a capitalist, and a good one at that. Moreover, he's very charitable and does a lot of good with his money. But even if he didn't, it would be none of our business to act like we have any say over how he spends his money.
     
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