A castle fit for King James
King James’ new crib – currently under construction in Summit County’s Bath Township – will have nearly everything a 22-year-old multimillionaire could dream of.
Among the more eye-opening amenities in LeBron James’ new $10 million to $15 million house will be a gaming room – labeled as a “casino” on the blueprint – a two-lane bowling alley, a three-story aquarium, a barbershop and a movie theater. There will also be a recording studio, where friend and rap mogul Jay-Z can drop a few verses if he stops by.
The idea behind the extravagance is for James, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, to have a sanctuary where he can step out of the spotlight.
“My whole philosophy is that an individual like LeBron James cannot relax in public,” said Robert Porter, the Westlake-based architect helping design the three-level house. “He’s bringing his life into his own personal environment.”
And for a superstar whose presence can be larger than life, a super-sized mansion seems appropriate.
The house and its six-car garage is expected to be more than 33,000 square feet. That’s about 15 times the size of the average home in the Midwest.
James bought the 5.59-acre lot and its 11-bedroom house for $2.1 million in 2003, Summit County records show. That house, a mere 12,611 square feet, was demolished to make room for LeBron’s mansion, which could be finished early next year, Porter said.
Aside from the master bedroom, the house has five bedrooms and at least a half-dozen bathrooms.
The property is in an unassuming neighborhood, where the privacy trees and gates in front of James’ property stand out among the relatively modest homes with Honda Civics and Ford pickup trucks in the driveway.
The location is right off Interstate 77, giving James easy highway access to reach The Q or the Cavaliers’ future practice facility in Independence. Plus, it’s near his hometown of Akron.
“LeBron likes the area very much and wants to continue to be close to family and friends and support the community,” said Keith Estabrook, James’ publicist.
The main entrance has a canopied terrace that will welcome guests to the main floor, which has a “grand” room, a “great” room, a kitchen, two dens, a bar and a terrace in the back.
Beneath the main floor is the entertainment-themed level. That will house the recording studio, the bowling alley and a movie theater with three elevated rows of seats.
Plus, the lower level will be home to “sports central” – with an entire wall covered with television screens and an adjacent sports bar.
The upper level will include guest bedrooms and a nanny suite.
There are no plans for a basketball court, but Porter said there’s enough unused land to build one.
While construction continues on the house, curious people occasionally drive by to get a glance, said a neighbor.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she has seen James a couple of times. She recalled one instance when he and friends, to the excitement of neighborhood children, were driving a motorbike up and down the street.
“It’s great,” she said. “We welcome him to the neighborhood.”