The New Sugar Land: More Land, Less Sugar

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.


The most iconic building in the complex, the brick char house, should remain standing after all the blasts: It will become the nucleus of a mixed-use core of the new historic area along U.S. 90A, just west of Oyster Creek. But the partnership is also planning more familiar improvements for the surrounding area, including plenty of sprawling commercial and apartment development fronting the east side of Highway 6, and large pockets of up to 870 new single-family homes, to be planted on artfully winding streets bridging the two. The name for the entire 700-acre project: Imperial. Sugar free, of course.

The Imperial crown logo sign attached to the furnace house “and other historic items from the site” have already been removed and stored so they can be included in the redevelopment, Johnson reports. A viewing area for Sunday’s historic implosion will be set up east of Main St. — north of Hwy. 90A, which will be closed down for the event. Parking will be available at Lakeview Elementary, 314 Lakeview Dr., and Sugar Land Middle School, 321 Seventh St.

Photo: Flickr user mscottk

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