- 15701 Oleta Ln. [HAR]
Johnson Development, the company behind that sugar-company-themed master-planned community in Sugar Land, announced yesterday that it has officially handed over the land for the project’s refinery-centric Imperial Market mixed-use district to the folks who will develop it. The 26 acres freshly sold are along Oyster Creek just north of the crossing of Hwy. 90 (visible on the far left of the rendering above, which faces south). That’s Kempner St. running directly alongside the proposed development and crossing the creek as well; a pair of former railroad bridges currently upstream of Kempner are shown replaced with car and pedestrian bridges respectively.
Plans for the development incorporate structures from out-of-use former facilities of the Imperial Sugar Company. The refinery’s silos (instead of becoming an art space) are marked to host a couple of fast-casual restaurants; the 1925 char house, where huge quantities of carefully burned animal bones were once used to whiten and filter cane sugar syrup, will become a boutique hotel. Both structures are more prominently visible in the southeast-facing view below — the boxy brick char house appears to the left of the single-pour-concrete silos:
Incorporated as a city in 1959, Sugar Land was still Imperial Sugar’s company-owned town when the original part of this expanded, updated 1940 home went up east of Main St. in “the Hill” neighborhood of Old Sugar Land (loosely defined as north side of U.S. 90). Listed earlier this week with a $349,900 asking price, the property sports a wraparound side porc (above) that faces a Texas Historic Landmark across the tree-lined street: Sugar Land Auditorium, formerly Lakeview Auditorium, is the last remaining building of the original 11-structure campus of Sugar Land ISD District 17.
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:
Good morning, Sugar Land! As of today, the once-5,400-acre state prison in your midst is no longer. Down for the last decade to a 326-acre core of former Imperial Sugar-owned land near Hwy. 6 and Rte. 90A, the 112-year-old Central Unit shipped out its last prisoners earlier this month; the property was handed over to the state’s General Land Office yesterday. Sugar Land officials are interested in buying the property, but the decision to sell will be up to the 3-member School Land Board, which runs the investments of state’s Permanent University Fund.
Photo: Justin Dehn/Texas Tribune
The controlled demolitions of 2 metal buildings once part of the Imperial Sugar Refinery off Highway 90A in Sugar Land, originally scheduled for December 12th, have been rescheduled for this weekend. If all goes according to plan, after the dynamite blasts on Sunday morning the furnace house and bin building will fall away from the brick char house, which Johnson Development Corp. plans to save and use as a centerpiece for the new 700-acre historic-themed development it plans to build on the site, celebrating the rich but recently decimated history of the local sugar-refining business. The company plans to call the development “Imperial.” With or without the implosion, the demolition of Sugar Land’s iconic buildings has already been nominated this year for a Swamplot Award for Houston Real Estate, in the Best Teardown category.
The viewing area will be east of Main St. and north of Hwy. 90A — which will be closed down. There will be parking available at Lakeview Elementary, 314 Lakeview Dr., and Sugar Land Middle School, 321 Seventh St. Demo time is scheduled for 7 am.
Photo: Flickr user mscottk
Late Update, 12/16: The implosions are back on, scheduled for December 19th.
Update, 12/8 3:30 pm: FortBendNow is reporting that this weekend’s implosion has been canceled and will be rescheduled later.
Fort Bend County fans of large building implosions won’t have to drive all the way into Downtown Houston to watch the next big boom. It’s gonna be taking place right in the heart of Sugar Land, this weekend! Johnson Development Corp. will be knocking down an old furnace house and a bin building — 2 metal structures from the former Imperial Sugar Refinery — this Sunday morning at 7. The ongoing demolition project is necessary so the company — part of a public-private partnership with the Texas General Land Office and the City of Sugar Land, run by private equity firm Cherokee — can create a giant historic-themed development on the surrounding industrial acreage, celebrating the area’s rich history of refinement. The Imperial Sugar Company, no stranger to refinery explosions itself, shut down the plant in 2003.
WILL THEY EVER GET TO PLAY THE HOUSTON FLOOD? In a rare and surprising victory for regional realism, prospective fans have chosen to name Sugar Land’s new minor-league baseball team the Skeeters, the Atlantic League team’s management announced yesterday. Defeated at the baseball ballot box: also-rans the King Canes and Lizard Kings. Fans should be able to watch the Skeeters and swat mosquitoes from $8 seats in Sugar Land’s new strip-mall-inspired open-air stadium on the banks of Oyster Creek by the 2012 season. While one rendition of the new team’s logo pictures a mosquito piercing a baseball with its proboscis, an animated version (featured at the top left of every page on the team’s new website) depicts it angrily and repeatedly stabbing into Fort Bend County on a map of Texas. (See also less-charitable responses to the name from Around the Loop and Deadspin.) [Skeeters News; previously on Swamplot]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: BUILD IT AND THEY WILL DRIVE UP “Why couldn’t they just carve it out of a field of corn…?” [Mies, commenting on New Sugar Land Minor League Stadium Easily Assembled from Standardized Suburban Parts]
COMMENT OF THE DAY: SUGAR LAND SHOPPING OUTINGS, BETWEEN INNINGS “Maybe this is a new suburban form of mixed use development. Who says you can’t pick up your prescriptions, grab a venti latte and watch a ball game all at the same place?” [Matt, commenting on New Sugar Land Minor League Stadium Easily Assembled from Standardized Suburban Parts]
Building a baseball stadium can be a complicated job. But the latest drawings released by PGAL, the architecture firm that’s been doing design work for Sugar Land’s new minor league ballpark, make it look like the project’s designers are doing their best to break down the process into some easily understood components, which should make the task simpler to comprehend for whichever design-build contractor is selected. Can you build some bleachers? Great! How about a brickface strip center, or maybe one of those drive-up apartment complexes? Knew you could! Now just wrap it around the outside from 1st to 3rd base, and you’ve pretty much got it.
APARTMENT INSPECTIONS IN SUGAR LAND Sugar Land requires single-family rental units to be inspected each year. And the city council has just voted to require the same for multifamily apartments: “The multifamily ordinance must be approved on second reading at a future meeting to become law. If approved, the measure will require apartment owners to pay an annual fee of $8 per rental unit. Sugar Land Community and Environmental Director Mike Goodrum told City Council members on Tuesday that the fee would equate to an annual cost of about $2,000 to $2,400 for the typical apartment complex in the city. Most of those complexes, he said, are owned by Gables Residential of Atlanta, Ga., which was consulted during creation of the new proposed policy. . . . Since apartment complexes typically have somewhat rapid tenant turnover, city inspectors would annually inspect those units that are vacant on the day the inspector schedules a visit, Goodrum indicated.” [Fort Bend Now]