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.
On December 1, 2022 the City and PUMA development announced PUMA’s interest in redeveloping the Char House and developing the surrounding area into a walkable, mixed-use project comprised of experiential retail, dynamic entertainment, unique food and beverage, multi-family and single-family residential, commercial office space, outdoor parks consistent with the city’s vision for “regional activity centers.”
Actions taken by the Sugar Land City Council
At the start, PUMA outlined several incentives and zoning approvals needed to make this project a reality. To date, the City has approved a $5 million reimbursement agreement for pre-development and construction costs to redevelop the Imperial Char House and an office lease agreement for future space in the Char House to secure private financing for the Char House project.
In addition, the City Council has amended the Land Use Plan and approved a General Development Plan as the first step in a 2-step zoning process. The Land Use Plan amendment increased the number of multi-family units necessary to make the project financially feasible and the General Development Plan approved a framework of land uses for the project. Previous plans, which included fewer multi-family units, were not financially feasible and therefore did not come to fruition.
Where we are now
Now, PUMA and the City have begun more detailed development plans and various technical studies like traffic, drainage, and school impact. Once complete, these plans and studies will be presented to the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council for the second step zoning approval and will include public hearings. This second step zoning approval is required before PUMA can start construction.
From the start, the City’s top priority has been the preservation and redevelopment of the Char House and for the first time we have a developer that shares that same priority. Completion of the Char House will be prioritized in the first phase of the project. The actual timing and sequencing of the remaining project phases are unknown but will be controlled by the City Council through future zoning approvals and a development agreement.
Lease agreement between City and PUMA Development
Approval of $5M Reimbursement Agreement for preservation & restoration of the Char House
Approval of Historic Tax Credits
Pre-submittal work for the Final Development Plan
Approval of Development Agreement
Final Development Plan to Planning & Zoning Commission
Final Development Plan to City Council
Approval of Final Development Plan #1
About multi-family units
The increased number of multi-family units is necessary to make the project financially feasible. Previous plans, which included fewer multi-family units, were not financially feasible and therefore did not come to fruition.
The units will be luxury and anticipated to attract single and/or dual income empty-nesters and young professionals, likely without children. This development is within a much larger, 201-acre Regional Activity Center. See the map below for a more complete explanation, but here's the breakdown of the entire Regional Activity Center:
- Imperial Historic District (Proposed PUMA Project Area): A requested 660
- Imperial Lofts: 254 units
- Sueba Site: 274 units
Five Regional Activity Centers (RACs), including Imperial, were approved by City Council in the 2018 Land Use Plan as opportunities 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 future growth, creating spaces that complement each other and a strong tax base to sustain the City’s high-quality services and amenities.
- What is the project?
- What has been completed to date?
- Is this a city-led project? Why has the City provided financial support?
- Why is this redevelopment happening now?
- How has the public been engaged in this process?
- What are the next steps?
- Why was an amendment to the Land Use Plan necessary for this project? Does this mean it can change at any time?
- What did City Council's vote on an amendment to the Land Use Plan and General Development plan mean?
- Can the Char House be preserved without the other parts of the proposed project being developed?
- What’s to keep PUMA from buying the land, building apartments and then backing out of the Char House deal?
- Why are apartments needed?
- Who will be leasing the new proposed, multi-family units?
Meetings & Information
The rezoning process has been initiated and is now underway. Below are the meeting dates where the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council have or will take action related 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 | watch meeting video]|
|February 7, 2023||Char House Lease Agreement [see meeting agenda | watch meeting video]|
|February 14, 2023||Planning & Zoning Commission Public Hearing, Consideration & Action on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment [see meeting agenda | watch meeting video]|
|February 21, 2023||City Council Public Hearing and 1st Reading on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment [see meeting agenda]|
|March 7, 2023||City Council Public Hearing and 2nd Reading on rezoning and Land Use Plan Amendment|
|September 5, 2023||City Council Workshop - City staff, project consultants, and PUMA development [watch meeting video]|
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.