Blog site

Sugar Land calls Imperial Sugar site a ‘sticky spot’ as city considers development of private historic site

SUGAR LAND, Texas – Sugar Land takes its name from its origins as a sugar producer, namely Imperial Sugar. However, the factory itself – the inspiration and heart of the name for bustling southwest Houston – is abandoned. Why?

Sugar Land addresses this issue this week on its official blog.

Doug Adolph, the city’s director of communications, shared some sort of explanation Tuesday, saying the city “doesn’t own the Imperial Sugar site and never has,” adding “the site is privately owned and seeks a developer with experience in historic preservation and whose vision for the property aligns with that of the city.

Next comes the action part of the blog – what’s next? “The city and owner have been actively working to attract a developer, but the site is difficult to develop, and even temporary changes could impact future funding for historic preservation, so the site remains as is” , says the blog.

And as is, well, let’s just say it’s a little more than rough around the edges. Photos shared from the site show no trespassing signs and what appear to be open windows and possibly graffiti on the upper floors of the main building.

“Community concerns about the future of the Imperial Sugar site are well known and shared by city leaders,” Adolph wrote. “However, this is a tricky situation, and the city is doing everything it can to help the owner attract the right developer to the site and will continue to do so.”

“Sugar Land is built; growth opportunities are limited,” the message continues. “Our community and City Council leaders have identified redevelopment as a key priority to increase revenue streams that will preserve Sugar Land’s quality of life for current and future residents. Five “hubs of activity”, one being the Imperial Sugar site, have been identified to extend our big city amenities while maintaining our small town hospitality. These hubs are envisioned as mixed-use, dense, walkable areas. The new tax base generated by the growth of activity centers will help maintain our tax rate among the lowest in the state while maintaining the quality of life and services our residents, businesses and visitors have come to expect.

The city post says development of these hubs “must start with housing.”

“You can’t develop attractive new places without bringing more residents to Sugar Land, just like Imperial Sugar did decades ago,” Adolph says. “A variety of housing options such as apartments, townhouses, duplexes and more will provide pathways to home ownership, a nearby place for family and drive demand for new restaurants, businesses retail, amenities and attractions.”

The message continues: “We have changed to stay relevant and we are working to identify a bold vision for the future. We also seek to achieve this in the most appropriate and thoughtful way suited to Sugar Land. The site of the Imperial Historic District once played a vital role in our city’s economy. Our vision is to preserve and reuse historic buildings while developing a walkable, mixed-use destination. »

The Imperial Sugar site closed in 2003. It was acquired by Louis Dreyfus Commodities for $78 million in 2012, the Houston Chronicle reported at the time. Adolph told KPRC 2 that the current owner is Hunton Group. Research indicates that it is a Houston-based company known for manufacturing industrial machinery under labels like Trane. It is not known at this time how many times the property has changed hands.

KPRC 2 has contacted Hunton Group for comment and will update this article if we have any news.

Sugar Land also shared information about its city’s strategic outcomes and more about its regional hubs.

SOUND OFF: What do you think of the Imperial Sugar site? Let us know what you think, and what should be the next step, in the comments.

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All Rights Reserved.