No Lumps: A Look at Master-Planned Imperial Sugar Land

First things first: A sign off Hwy. 6 welcoming you to Imperial Sugar Land is so far the only part of the 716-acre master-planned community that’s under construction, touts a press release from the end of March. Up next? Starting this summer, adds the press release, something like the spout-centered roundabout shown here and a 254-unit apartment complex will begin going up around the minor-league Skeeters’ Constellation Field in the so-called Ball Park District. Plans show that that district will be flanked by a mix of uses:


This map view shows the proposed demarcations of the development’s 716 acres into 7 discrete “districts.” Plans show that the Refinery Districts (colored red on the map above) facing U.S. 90A make use of the remaining historic industrial buildings that gave the place a name for restaurants and retail and, if funding is acquired, a children’s hospital:

Next up: The Ball Park District is centered around Constellation Field and that watery roundabout. Here, plans suggest single-family cul-de-sacs with a limited number of apartments — no more than 950 — from which you can walk to root for the home team:

Plans also show that the peripheral Business Park, Highway 6, and Open Space/Utility Use Districts will include civic buildings, office space, frontage-road hotels, protected wetlands, and a water-treatment plant.

This aerial view, meandered through by Oyster Creek, shows a tentative layout of the Business Park District:

Walking trails, meeting spots, park-like greenspaces, and humbler water features dot the development:

Images: Imperial Sugar Land (PDF)

25 Comment

  • Uninspired.

  • Profitable.

  • How many acres of the total will be parking lots?

  • so glad I don’t live there anymore. Sugarland may look nice, especially on the paper shown here, but there are some strange realities to discover. Overzealous seems to be the name of the game when it comes to police, HOA, you name it. The quality of life problems persist, they aren’t self-contained so you would still likely commute almost an hour one way to work inside the loop. Yeah thats the reality. What big company is gonna locate itself in their office parks? I see how well that worked for all the office areas off 249.

  • I still have a kneejerk revulsion at the mention of Sugarland, but perhaps I’m being unfair. Their town square is nice. I mean, they’re trying, you know? All they need is to overcome this perception that they’re all chain restaurants and strip malls–like the rest of Houston, come to think of it. Give it 30 or 40 years and maybe none of this will seem as fake as it seems now.

  • Fluor and Schlumberger to name two, Mother Hydra.

  • Anse- The feeling is mutual. Please stay away.

  • Mother Hydra-Sugar Land (2 words) is also the new home of Texas Instruments.

  • Its not that Sugar Land can’t compete for office users. Sugar Land is a legitimate office submarket.

    If I were the land developer, however, I’d be concerned that all the big Class A & B office users in Sugar Land are closer to the freeway and that nearly all of those office buildings are literally on the other side of the tracks. I’d also be concerned that there remain so many prime undeveloped parcels that are within earshot of the freeway, and especially within Telfair.

    There may be a small number of office users that value the proximity to the airport or to a minor-league ballpark…but you know, they all have cars…and they and their employees are likely to spend a lot more time approaching the office or going to lunch or to meetings by way of US 59 than from any other vector for any other reason.

    Another thing. Sugar Land’s office market is perpetually overbuilt relative to demand.

    If I were them, I’d want stick to Sugar Land’s strongest suit and do mostly residential with a retail strip with pad sites along the major thoroughfares.

  • Chances are, just as many people line up with Anse’s opinion as Pfft’s. Affluent families congregate in the First Colonies and Woodlands of the country just for the chain restaurants, strip malls, and other generic aspects conservatism represents.

    It is what it is: simultaneously a haven for conservative people who seek the safety of others in the same demographic and a wasteland of conformity that supplies both the corporate payroll and the revile of open minds.

  • Tony, you realize Fort Bend county is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, right?

  • Well there is a market for sterile Kingdoms with a theme park atmosphere. To each his own.

  • Interesting, Tony. I thought affluent people flocked to the suburbs because of the other obvious reasons … better schools, extremely low crime, don’t have to wait 10 years for potholes to be fixed, don’t have to worry about someone opening a tattoo shop next door etc. Just because a restaurant is “one of a kind” does not mean the food is any good.
    Conservatism is not about “revile of open minds” it’s about recognizing ideas that work and also recognizing New Ideas that are dumb.

  • I don’t think “conservatism” is necessarily represented by an inherent desire to patronize chain restaurants and such. I do think a certain kind of person rarely looks beyond such things and maybe doesn’t have the desire or perhaps even the courage to seek out the unique or the unusual, but I wouldn’t hang political tags on people like that. I like Denny’s for breakfast as much as the next guy and I’m not gonna stand in line at the Breakfast Klub just because it’s a local institution, and that’s not a swipe at the Breakfast Klub, which is deserving of its success…Sugarland lacks the character and patina that age brings to a place because so much of it is just new. But everything was new at one time. The only real reason I dislike the suburbs is the lack of trees. I didn’t want to buy a house in a new development because I didn’t want the commute, but also because I didn’t want to wait 20 years to have a nice, shady, tree-lined street to live on.

  • @Mother Hydra
    It’s not my favorite place either but Aetna and Minute Maid (Coke) are also there. The guiding factor for many corporate relocations is the distance to the CEO’s house. If they live in Sweetwater, you can bet their companies are looking at Sugar Land.

  • @Commonsense, dumb ideas aren’t going to work. The market will let you know. That’s a conservative principle, isn’t it? Those funky little local joints are gonna work, or they’re not gonna work. Liberal consumerism is not that different from conservative consumerism. My feeling, as a liberal, is that government ought to be chiefly concerned with making sure that development does not unfairly provide obstacles for the little guys by providing incentives for the big guys. Houston’s former parking requirements are a case in point. I find many conservative approaches to urban planning and government in general to be just as economically intrusive as liberal ones; they’re just bent more in favor of private entities that really don’t need the help.

  • But Anse, the parking ordinance was put in place so people would have safe places to park their cars, and not bother residential streets. It was put in place to serve people, not big companies over smaller companies. That it didn’t work out that way, well now you’ve got people (urban liberals) who believe that the street in front of their house should be clear of people parking there, and small businesses being shut out of doing business because they can’t meet the ordinance. Should the city cave to the residents, or the small business owners? Should everyone in the city pay higher property taxes so the city can build parking garages to help the small business owner while keeping the streets in front of a persons house clear of parking?

  • Toasty, this is a real problem. I don’t claim to have the answer to every such problem. Residents have a right to voice their legitimate grievances, as do small business owners. I guess my feeling is that our policies have to reflect current trends at least as much as they must uphold certain principles. My answer to your point would be based on my own opinions about the choices one makes when purchasing a residence in the central areas of the city. Does that mean that residents must suffer perpetual headaches because they bought a house in Midtown? As it regards this specific issue, I think a lot of Swamplot posters have offered some possible solutions for parking that could settle at least some of these issues and possibly appease both businesses and residents.

  • Tony- Conservatism? You must’ve missed the article about Sugar Land being one of the most diverse cities in Texas. And if you took the time to visit, you would see we have much more to offer than strip malls and chain restaurants. We have lots of parks, bike trails, a minor league baseball stadium, greenbelts, etc etc etc. We are about to build a music venue as well.
    But don’t let facts get in the way of a good conservative rant now.

  • Ahhhh….. the dull,brain numbing sameness of the ‘burbs.

  • Sameness? How about a link to a community the above renditions mimic? I’ll wait…

    SIGH Inner Loopers. SIGH

  • On concept, conservatives either choose to be or are more innately susceptible to brand marketing than people who are able and/or willing to tend towards alternatives. Conservatives, in reaction, might feel criticism where none is intended. But it does mean people who are more apt to embrace brands (chain restaurants, tenants of strip malls, etc.) are the ones who fuel Madison Ave. corporate goals which in turn promote genericism and disdain for folks who might patronize tattoo shops along lower Westheimer. When someone like Commonsense says, “Conservatism is about recognizing ideas that work,” I’m skeptical that that person’s consideration goes beyond what works for them and not so much for people outside their demographic, especially when their first comment (#2 above) describes the very pillar of self-interest. This is fine and no one ought to fault you for looking after yourself. However, when conservatives try to apply this self-interest into policy which adversely affects society at-large that’s when the discourse gets ugly. Spoonman, you do realize that conservatism has many characteristics other than skin color, don’t you?

  • Tony, what else was I to take this to mean other than “White People”?

    “simultaneously a haven for conservative people who seek the safety of others in the same demographic and a wasteland of conformity”

  • I am surprised at all the criticism of the Imperial project. Believe it or not, the developers are actually trying to bring some housing diversity and urban design diversity to a suburban part of the region that doesn’t usually get to experience those things. Would you rather have it be a generic subdivision fronted by a conventional strip mall as is typically normal? I guess in Houston that would qualify as more “authentic” and “in the local design vernacular.” Believe me, there’s quite a strong contingent of Sugar Land residents who absolutely would have preferred it to be the conventional strip mall / subdivision combo and wanted the city government to force that to happen, as folks there are used to major public sector dictation of land use and property markets.

  • Tony- I noticed you conveniently side stepped the fact SL is one of the most diverse towns in Texas. It’s a fact.