Residents Near Smart Financial Centre: Don’t Wanna Live With ‘Em, Maybe Can’t Live Without ‘Em

RESIDENTS NEAR SMART FINANCIAL CENTRE: DON’T WANNA LIVE WITH ‘EM, MAYBE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM Mike Snyder reports from a dead empty plaza at the new Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land for the Chronicle this week — utilizing the deserted backdrop for some quiet contemplation and speculation regarding the development’s likely ability to draw long-term business. So-called “destination center” projects like Smart Centre and Town Square are “a big part of [Sugar Land’s] long-term financial strategy to broaden our economic base and keep our property taxes low,” city business director Jennifer Mays tells Snyder — but Snyder and others suggest that a lack of nearby residential development may make it harder for Smart Centre to take off the way Town Square has. Snyder also notes that 900 new apartments were originally planned near Smart Centre, but were nixed on account of objections from “residents concerned that renters would increase traffic, crowd schools and damage their suburban lifestyle.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Smart Financial Centre

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  • Snyder also notes that 900 new apartments were originally planned near Smart Centre, but were nixed on account of objections from “residents concerned that ̶r̶e̶n̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶c̶r̶e̶a̶s̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶a̶f̶f̶i̶c̶,̶ ̶c̶r̶o̶w̶d̶ ̶s̶c̶h̶o̶o̶l̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶ [b]minorities[/b] [would] damage their suburban lifestyle.”
    The whole traffic and schools dog whistle is getting old.

  • @DNAguy – cute, but it would be more accurate to replace “[b]minorities[/b]” with “[b]neighbors earning less than $150,000 annually per household[/b]”. It’s been repeated often that Fort Bend County is among the most racially diverse in the country. The Sugar Land folks don’t mind minorities, as long as they’re in the same tax bracket.

  • Well, the schools thing is real, insofar as the locals are worried that “apartment kids will ruin the schools”; this translates directly to their home values as suburban houses usually have little else to base their values upon, unless they’re located on a beach or lake or other irreplaceable amenity.

  • We already have a Town Square and are about to start a new one at the old Sugar Mill. Two is enough

    Quit making stuff up, DNA guy. Would you want 900 new apartments built near your neighborhood? Of course you wouldn’t. Put your silly little race cards away.

  • You just keep doing you, Sugar Land.

  • @LocalPlanner – even more than schools in general – that area is currently zoned to Clements HS and
    a large number of apartments could force a rewrite of those boundaries. Last year Clements had more National Merit Semifinalists than the other 10 HS in FBISD combined. Many parents are hell-bent to make sure their kids go to Clements.
    Yeah, they get excited about keeping apartments away, but hell hath no fury like a prospective Clements parent being told that Buffy is going to Elkins or Kempner.

  • Sugar Land demographics:

    White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, April 1, 2010 44.4%
    Asian alone, percent, April 1, 2010 (a) 35.3%
    Black or African American alone, percent, April 1, 2010 (a) 7.4%
    Hispanic or Latino, percent, April 1, 2010 (b) 10.6%

    Maybe minorities was the wrong word. It probably would be more accurate to associate this more w/ income. But let’s not sit here and pretend that race has nothing to do with this and that Sugar Land is in some kind of racial harmony to be replicated across all Houston. Fort bend county demo’s does not = Sugar Land’s. Fort Bend county is also ethnically diverse but not necessarily racially mixed. There’s a difference.
    Give me a break. These apartments are on what is now vacant grassland. They’re not throwing these in an established neighborhood or anything. In addition, the price point on these apartments are going to price out all the undesirable families’ that you’re worried would send their children to school with little Molly Sue. They’re what we like to term as “luxury”. Have you heard of City Centre?
    City Centre has 900+ resident multi and single family residences. That’s in an even more posh area than Telfair. So get over yourself.

  • @Dnaguy:
    Sugar Land, particularly within the vicinity of the Smart Financial Center is exceptionally diverse. In fact, the concentration of South Asians and Oriental Asians here is noteworthy; when taking a short drive down HW6 in either direction from 59, you will see many many businesses, particularly Indo-Pak N of 59, and Oriental S of 59. We currently have two large Asian grocery stories within close proximity of each other (Welfresh and 99 Ranch) with another one (Korean, I think?) opening soon. It almost feels like Caucasians are the minority within a 3 mile radius of 59 & 6.
    Even when you go to newer developments like Telfair, you will encounter many large extended families of Indo-Pak descent living in the huge 7 bedroom McMansions. The new shopping centers are also loaded with Halal restaurants, and places to buy a Sari.
    Then you have New Territory, which has had a high concentration of Asians for at least two decades now. But then we’re starting to enter the ETJ, quasi Sugar Land.
    Sugar Land IS a little bit cliquey, and you mostly see people hanging out with their own. It still isn’t quite the “racially harmonious” place the demographics portray, because the ethnic communities seem to self-segregate. And of course, the competition in the high schools, as mentioned above, is downright vicious.

    Furthermore, in terms of apartments, you actually have quite a few in the vicinity, including Telfair. If you go down Highway 6 towards Lexington, or close to the mall area a la Austin Pkwy, there are many apartment complexes, and you will encounter a few more N of 6. Even Sweetwater has quite a few apartment and condo complexes. Most of them are pretty well kept, and the rents are rather high.

    The argument against building apartments near the Smart Financial Center doesn’t make much sense, since there is already an overwhelming precedent of well-maintained apartment complexes mixed in with single family, and commercial uses within this 3 mile radius of 6 and 59.

    Traffic has gotten pretty bad in the evening, backing up all the way from FM 762, reaching past University and Sweetwater sometimes. All the suburban development out in Richmond/Rosenberg has overwhelmed 59’s capacity, although construction may provide relief soon, as it is nearing completion.
    University Blvd N and S of 59 is nowhere near as congested as say, Lexington, Williams Trace or even Sweetwater Blvd (all three of which have many apartment complexes), but those avenues are usually 2 lanes in each direction. University is three (at least N of 59), with ample turn lanes.

    Oh yeah, we have more than one “town square” in the works….let’s see….
    Sugar Land Town Square
    The Ballpark vicinity (although this is pretty close to Imperial, so we could probably count that as one).

    What the hell, another one won’t hurt. Plus, we need a damn Trader Joes somewhere here; I’m annoyed that one has to go all the way out to either Katy or Shepherd@ W Alabama for that.

    Source: Living in Sugar Land and the vicinity for a while

  • Any artists that does a show in sugarland must be lame.

  • Just because an area is racially diverse doesn’t mean that it is not racist.

  • White people are not the only humans capable of harboring racially motivated biases. To claim that racism is not a factor because many residents are not white is a tad silly.

  • Oriental Asian??? What is Oriental Asian?

  • @Hipster – “Oriental Asian” is trumpspeak for East Asian.