The Imperial Sugar site was the start of what would become Sugar Land and once played a vital role in our city’s economy. Imperial Sugar created jobs, and then homes and as it grew this economic engine was the corner stone of our community, our “company town”, for generations. Today, Sugar Land is still a “company town” serving as a major employment hub in the Houston region with over 70,000 jobs. And although the Imperial Sugar site is no longer operational, the resolve to preserve and honor the City’s history is as strong as ever.
Proposal for preservation and redevelopment of the Imperial Char House
PUMA Development is proposing to preserve and begin redevelopment of the Imperial Char House, the City of Sugar Land’s most iconic building. PUMA, a Houston-based boutique development firm specializing in creating experience-driven, mixed-use communities, has requested support from the City of Sugar Land and Sugar Land Development Corporation (SLDC) toward preservation of the Char House and eventual development of the remainder of the Imperial Historic District. The City Council and SLDC will be considering financial support of the project as it progresses.
Development of the Imperial Historic District
PUMA’s vision for the remainder of the Imperial Historic District, similar to the City’s Land Use Plan, is to develop a walkable, mixed-use project comprised of experiential retail, dynamic entertainment, unique food and beverage, top-notch fitness, multi-family and single-family residential, commercial office space, outdoor parks and more. To date, no development application has been submitted.
Investing and revitalizing for the future
Years of public input have shown the need for denser development with a diversity of housing options that will provide a stronger tax base to maintain Sugar Land’s high level of services and amenities while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates.
This type of development also has many other benefits, such as creating desirable workplaces for new, expanded and existing businesses, pathways to homeownership, public infrastructure improvements and quality of place amenities.
- Is this a city-led project?
The Historic District is one of the top priorities of our City Council so this is a joint effort between the City and a private developer. As such, the City has initiated rezoning on the property in order to provide the initial zoning framework for the redevelopment to take place.
- Why is the City considering putting money toward this project?
The Historic District is one of the top priorities of our City Council and extremely important to our residents and our history. Projects like this are expensive and complex. The City and developer will be maximizing the use of a variety of financial tools, including the Sugar Land Development Corporation, funded by a quarter cent sales tax restricted for economic development purposes, state historical tax credits, General Fund, and private financing to meet the vision for the site.
- Why is this redevelopment happening now?
The City has tried for many years to create a working relationship with the private owner of the Imperial site. There is currently a new interested party and developer that has approached the City to jointly develop and preserve the Char House.
- How many apartments are being proposed within the Imperial Historic District?
Five Regional Activity Centers (RACs), including Imperial, were approved by City Council in the 2018 Land Use Plan as a way to create walkable areas that have a mix of several land uses, including office space, entertainment, retail, hotels, civic areas, and residential housing. RACs are important to Sugar Land's growth and ensuring that we have spaces that complement each other and ensure higher property values and tax revenues for the City.
The revised Land Use Plan policy document will provide for the ability to have up to 1,200 units of multi-family housing within the overall 201-acre Imperial Regional Activity Center. These 1,200 units includes existing multi-family housing as well as proposed and future housing throughout the entirety of the RAC.
The proposed Imperial Historic District GDP (General Development Plan) zoning ordinance would allow 660 additional multi-family units in the 40-acre PUMA Development project area in and around the Char House. These units are in addition to the 254 existing Imperial Lofts and the previously approved 274 units within the Sueba-owned property. All of these are part of the overall 1,200 units in the revised Land Use Plan for the Imperial RAC.
Upcoming Meetings & Information
The rezoning process has been initiated and is now underway. Below are the upcoming meeting dates when the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council will review the changes to the zoning. Also included in the timeline below are other related action items being considered to support the redevelopment. All are subject to change and will be updated as the project progresses.
|December 1, 2022||Public Announcement|
|December 8, 2022||Town Hall [watch meeting video]|
|December 15, 2022||Town Hall [watch meeting video]|
|December 20, 2022||SLDC/CC Workshop– Financial Assistance [see meeting agenda | watch meeting video]|
|January 3, 2023||SLDC/CC Approval– Financial Assistance [see meeting agenda]|
|January 24, 2023||Joint Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council Workshop on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment [see meeting agenda]|
|February 7, 2023||Char House Lease Agreement|
|February 14, 2023||Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing, Consideration & Action on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment|
|February 21, 2023||City Council Public Hearing and 1st Reading on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment|
|March 7, 2023||City Council Public Hearing and 2nd Reading on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment|
Opportunities for public input will available via community meetings and public hearings. You can also send us your feedback through our online form and sign up to receive regular email updates.
Attend a community town hall
Stay tuned for future community input opportunities as the project progresses.