Former Houston Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon quietly opened the doors this past week of a brand-new flagship store for his new clothing line, DR34M. It’s conveniently located just off NASA Pkwy., inside a mansion built during the Depression by a Texas oilman — used later for more than 20 years by NASA for its Lunar and Planetary Institute.
The 17,000-sq.-ft. Italianate mansion by the Clear Lake shore was completed in 1930 by Houston city hall architect Joseph Finger for Jim West, whose family sold it to Humble Oil when he died in 1941. Since then, it has been owned by the Pappas restaurant family and Rice University. And in 1969, during the Apollo missions, the nearby Johnson Space Center moved its moon unit here; it stayed until 1991.
Olajuwon, who has made a lot of investments in Houston-area real estate since his 2002 retirement from the NBA, bought the West Mansion in 2006. He had plans to subdivide the sprawling 41-acre estate to sell off to developers, according to news reports. Later reports indicated the mansion would be razed, or that a retirement village would be built around it. But since early this year, workers have been making extensive renovations to the building, inside and out:
Vacant rooms that once held research equipment have been turned into museum-like exhibits displaying pieces from the DR34M lines. (The name is a jumble of Olajuwon’s jersey number and nickname.) His DR34M Shake Athletic Wear has its own room:
Elsewhere are rooms for a second signature line, Peachbasket Sportswear, a name that hearkens basketball’s humble origins in cold gymnasia:
And for both men’s and women’s formal wear:
Shopping visits to Olajuwon’s new spread at 3300 E. NASA Pkwy. are now available by appointment only, Mondays through Saturdays.
- Luxurious and Timeless Apparel and Lifestyle Products [DR34M]
- Jim West Mansion [Preserved in Time]
- Hakeem Olajuwon launches DR34M clothing line [NBA]
- Previously on Swamplot: Hakeem Olajuwon’s Dream for the Jim West Mansion: Flagship Clothing and Furniture Store?, A Very Long Look at the Jim West Mansion, How Hakeem Olajuwon Sold Metro $5.6 Million of Swampland for Just $15 Million
Photo of Jim West Mansion: Noel Kerns [license]
It should be returned to the Nasa complex to be used as a welcome center for a public planetary and museum development. They horrible Finger apartments behind it should be taken with eminent domain and plowed under so the Nasa development could flow in to the nature areas of the bayou park already there. We don’t need all these apartments, mini storage, fake Hilton motels and such…..it is time to think, ask, listen, then build….. also I am damn tired of seeing these types of no money making stores, companies and all around wastes of space and our good nature pop up…..we are done pretending you are rich and we all know you had several homes foreclosed on in Sugarland…….get over yourself and build a park or go away!!!!!
also done pretending sports is a profession and that anyone makes millions playing a child’s game……none of it adds up to profit, so it is time to wake up and smell the audit
Wait, what? Or maybe he’ll just sell the property back to the city for an exhorbitant mark-up. This a terrible location for a store.
also everyone and their mother claims to be an oil tycoon through Humble Oil……getting real tired of stupid people who can’t even rewrite history in a way that sounds likely…….also some of us have family that saw it all and know it all……so it’s time to wake up liars….Exxon built Friendswood Development Company, not Lennar and Village Builders was the crown jewel of local spec home builders until Lennar or should we say US HOME decided they did it all from Florida….. Kingwood, named for King Ranch and built as a place for the refinery workers of Exxon to live says the Lennar BS is just that……Exxon to this day manages the mineral rights for Kingwood, but does not own them, the rights are property of the community, which if the title companies actually researched mineral rights, is standard throughout a lot of Houston developments, so you may want to ask where the money is going darlings, because it is yours!!!!!!
@charles NASA is barely making it as is. In fact they are about to lay off even more people they don’t need any more land for anything in fact they probably need to start selling off land to stay a float.
Why all the hate for Hakeem? Forever a hero in my book.
Good for Hakeem,this place was practically destroyed by the LPI, imagine a gov’t standard build-out with drop ceilings, formica floors, large rooms to cube farms, etc., after 30 years of decay private money restores the place and Chuck is still unhappy. Retail is a stretch for the place but good luck all the same.
I’ve always wanted to get married here. It’s really a shame that it wasn’t restored to its original state and used for galas or events. A museum would of been much more appropriate.
Yikes. Another former pro baller with a clothing line. Enough already. Of course, Hakeem can restore the old West mansion using some of that shady money he made from that over valued land he sold Metro. Houston: land of the over valued land “deals” that connected people profit from!!!
So I gotta make an appointment to buy a $300 polo shirt? Is you crazy dr34m?
Nice finish out, but what a waste of time. Who in their righ mind would go all the way out there to buy overpriced, generic, American-looking apparel with his label attached to it?
I mean, what is the demographic. I can’t think of one. Maybe basketball fans?? But they’re not going to make an appointment to drive way out there to buy this stuff when they can find the same thing in Houston.
@charles that rant you went on sure did branch out. Sports seems to be a profession if the majority of people spend their wages to view such entertainment.
I am with Bernard and crosscreek, why that hatred? The Dream, along side the Glide, Otis Thorpe, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell and some others, were legends to this city and the only ones in the last several decades that have not fallen short of professional championships. Let their private money be spent how they choose.
Is it Hakeem’s fault if METRO overpaid for land? I don’t think anyone on this post would think twice about a legitimate $15M paycheck in front of their face.
Do I think this is a great idea given location and other specifics of the retail plan, NO. Do I think Hakeem warrants shit talking about him HELL NO.
J.E…. Really ??? [“The Dream, along side the Glide, Otis Thorpe, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell and some others, were legends to this city and the only ones in the last several decades that have not fallen short of professional championships.”] The HOUSTON DYNAMO have been winning Championships and coming in second since 2006. Live outside the box, and tune out MLB, NFL, and the NBA for awhile and you’lll be entertained by the game the rest of the world watches….
C.L….Really??? You want him to ignore all the real professional sports with long tradition and history in the US and care about some game that should played by soiled kids in back alleys of 3rd world countries?
C’mon ladies C’mon ladies one pound fish!!!
As a child my father was a security guard at the LMI, and my brother and I became the first to kids on Earth to see a moon rock up close. As such this mansion will always be a special place for me. I’m glad it’s being put to use, but I think it was a little more interesting when housing our first interstellar souvenirs.
The gates were open and I drove up to the house, parked and walked around. The place is empty. Grounds are being maintained and a staff member told me the property was private and no one was allowed on the property. I told him the gates were open and no signs displayed “Keep Out” and I walked though. Buildings are grounds are clean but I would not pay even hundreds of dollars for an event there. There is no indication the main mansion is being used. Would you update me please. I, with many others, have watched and read everything on this property for 4 decades. I really thought Hakeem was the person to revive this magnificent palace. Thank you.