Sugar Land Imperial sites’ future at center of 2 town hall events hosted by city, developer

Imperial Sugar refinery, as photographed in 2002 by the Associated Press. (Associated Press, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SUGAR LAND, Texas – Sugar Land residents will have a chance for their voices to be heard about the proposed future of the Sugar Land Imperial sites at two upcoming town hall events.

The events will be held on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sugar Land Heritage Museum and Visitor Center, located at 198 Kempner Street.

The event, according to Sugar Land’s official news blog, will be co-hosted by the city and PUMA, the Houston-based firm that has “requested support from the City of Sugar Land and Sugar Land Development Corporation toward preservation of the Char House and eventual development of the remainder of the Imperial Historic District.” The Sugar Land blog describes PUMA as a “boutique development firm specializing in creating experience-driven, mixed-use communities.”

The Sugar Land official blog notes “City Council and Sugar Land Development Corporation will be considering financial support of the project as it progresses.”

Sugar Land said additional opportunities for public input will be available via community meetings, email updates and public hearings as the project progresses. Updates will also be posted at www.sugarlandtx.gov/ImperialHistoricDistrict.

The city’s blog says, “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.”

“The city partnering with PUMA Development is a unique opportunity for our city to continue its legacy of world-class public private partnerships,” Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman is quoted as saying on the Sugar Land blog. “The Imperial Char House involves the special history of Sugar Land, and I’m very excited to get behind this project and promote the continued growth and success of our city.”

“The Historic District is one of the top priorities of our City Council and extremely important to our residents and our history,” City Manager Michael W. Goodrum is quoted as saying on the Sugar Land news blog. “Projects like this are expensive and complex and will need financial support from the city and other available financial tools to be feasible. To ensure a desirable development that strengthens our economy, protects our neighborhoods and responds to the expectations of our community to preserve where we began, the city must consider investing in our future.”

The Hunton Group, the current property owner of all of the historic buildings of Imperial, has been “working diligently” to find the right developer for the property, according to the city’s blog.

“We have been working for over a year to find the right partner for the Imperial project that will do justice to the history of Imperial and the City of Sugar Land and develop the site to its full potential,” said R.O. Hunton, founder of the Hunton Group, is quoted as saying on the Sugar Land blog.

RELATED: Sugar Land calls Imperial Sugar site ‘delicate situation’ as city eyes development of privately-owned historical location

What do you think about the trajectory of the city and the developer’s proposed vision? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.