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Mayor: City ‘bound by law’ to approve West Mansion demolition

Property’s historical designation lapsed, mayor says

CLEAR LAKE, Texas – Demolition crews on Thursday began tearing down the historic West Mansion in Clear Lake, and the mayor of Pasadena said Friday the city was “bound by law” to approve permits for that demolition.

KPRC 2 viewer Marra Gunnells drove by the massive house on NASA Parkway on Thursday and snapped photos of an excavator tearing through the south side of the structure.

According to Preservation Texas, the 17,000-square-foot home was built in the late 1920s by lumber, oil and ranching tycoon James Marion West and his wife, Jessie Dudley. It was the focal point of their 30,000-acre ranch.

RELATED READ: History of the West Mansion

The West Mansion in Clear Lake, Texas, is seen in 2013.

The home was designated as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1993 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Those designations lapsed in 2014, according to Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner.

“To my understanding, none of the owners came forward in the time since to have those designations or restrictions reinstated,” Wagner said Friday in a written statement. “Because of this and the other requirements met, the City of Pasadena was bound by law to grant the demolition permit to current owner, Olajuwon Farms, LLC and the demotion company, Cherry Demolition. The state of Texas Constitution strongly protects the rights of property owners, and as much as we hate to see this piece of history razed, our hands were legally tied."

The mansion was purchased by former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon several years ago. The hall-of-famer turned the house into an exclusive fashion boutique that could be shopped only by appointment.

There were rumors that Olajuwon was trying to sell the property to developers. Preservation Texas said those developers want to slice up the land on which the home sits.

Wagner’s entire statement

“I am aware of and saddened to see the demolition of the West Mansion on E. Nasa Parkway. Both our City Permitting and Legal Departments have gone to great lengths to research the status of the private property and, unfortunately, the deed restrictions for historical designation lapsed back in 2014. To my understanding, none of the owners came forward in the time since to have those designations or restrictions reinstated. Because of this and the other requirements met, the City of Pasadena was bound by law to grant the demolition permit to current owner, Olajuwon Farms, LLC and the demotion company, Cherry Demolition. The state of Texas Constitution strongly protects the rights of property owners, and as much as we hate to see this piece of history razed, our hands were legally tied.”


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