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2013 City News Releases

Posted on: September 4, 2013

Historic Milestone Agreements Approved for Sugar Land Performing Arts Center

Performing Arts Center Rendering.jpg

Sugar Land, TX - The Sugar Land Development Corporation approved a design agreement with Martinez & Johnson Architects on Sept. 3 for the final design of Sugar Land’s future performing arts venue. The SLDC determination followed Sugar Land City Council’s approval of a development agreement on July 23 with ACE SL, LLC (ACE), whose parent company is ACE Theatrical Group, for the design, development and construction of a future Performing Arts Center. Renderings of the iconic venue were released on Sept. 4.

The economic development strategy for the venue was structured to establish Sugar Land as a destination location for culture and entertainment as well as creating an amenity that is commercially self-sustainable. Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and take about 24 months. The venue will be located on a portion of 38.5 acres of City-own property in the Telfair commercial district, southeast of U.S. Highway 59 and University Boulevard. Development in this area is slated for commercial, office and entertainment purposes.

“Making Sugar Land a destination for culture and entertainment has been a long-held vision of our citizens and City Council,” said Mayor James Thompson. “A 2007 Citizen Visioning Task Force included a performing arts center among its cultural and entertainment venue recommendations. We selected a partner in ACE who will bring the level of live entertainment expertise and high standards of facility management that align with the City’s goals for a first class venue and entertainment experience.”

The City’s public-private partnership with ACE began in 2011 with a memorandum of understanding to create a financially feasible, operationally self-sustaining signature facility.

A 2008 Market Analysis and Feasibility Study and an updated 2012 study performed by CSL International identified that the Houston market did not have a 6,500-seat live entertainment venue and concluded that market demand would support the first financially feasible and commercially sustainable venue of its size in the region. The studies also supported that the performing arts venue in Sugar Land will promote capital investment, create new jobs, enhance educational opportunities and create unique destination activities attracting local and regional visitors.

“This new performing arts venue will allow residents of Sugar Land, and the surrounding area, to experience a level of live entertainment that until now has not been available,” said Allen Becker, Chairman of ACE Theatrical Group. “Bringing a first class cultural entertainment venue to the City of Sugar Land is an exciting opportunity and ACE is grateful to be a part of the project from the start.”

Based on voters’ approval of the financing tools in 2008 and the City’s goal to create a financially feasible, operationally self-sustaining venue, the estimated $83.6 million Performing Arts Center will be funded through a unique package of special funding sources.

  • The City’s partner, ACE, will make a $10-million equity contribution to the project.
  • A portion of sales tax revenues that may only be used for economic development purposes and a portion of hotel occupancy tax funds that are restricted to tourism initiatives will be dedicated to the project.
  • Rent revenues generated by the facility will also fund the Performing Arts Center.

No general fund tax dollars will be spent on the project that is expected to create an iconic venue for the region.

About ACE SL, LLC.
ACE SL, LLC, whose parent company is ACE Theatrical Group, brings an experienced team of locally-based entertainment industry professionals to the project, led by Allen J. Becker, TONY Award-winning founding chairman of PACE Entertainment Corporation. The ACE Executive Team also includes Brian E. Becker, Gary D. Becker, David M. Anderson, Gary A. Markowitz and Kirk B. Feldmann. Together, they offer more than 175 years of experience and success in local, national and international entertainment ventures, including pioneering the development of new music and theatrical venues, as well as the entertainment to fill them. More about the company and the many venues created and managed by ACE can be found at www.acetheatricalgroup.com.

About Sugar Land
The City of Sugar Land is an award-winning community 20 miles southwest of Houston. This master-planned community has achieved its sustainable, strong local economy through a strategically focused and aggressive economic development program creating new wealth and jobs. As a regional employment center, the City is home to numerous high-profile regional and international corporations housed in more than 24 million square feet of commercial space, including Minute Maid, Schlumberger, Fluor Corporation, Bechtel EO and Aetna. Sugar Land is also home to highly recognized destination venues such as Constellation Field and Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land.

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