Economic Development

City of Sugar Land prioritizes preserving iconic Imperial Char House; PUMA Development proposes plan to redevelop site

PUMA Development is proposing to preserve and begin redevelopment of the Imperial Char House, the City of Sugar Land’s most iconic building. 

PUMA, a Houston-based boutique development firm specializing in creating experience-driven, mixed-use communities, has requested support from the City of Sugar Land and Sugar Land Development Corporation (SLDC) toward preservation of the Char House and eventual development of the remainder of the Imperial Historic District.  The City Council and SLDC will be considering financial support of the project as it progresses.

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,” said Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman. “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.”

Years of public input have shown the need for denser development with a diversity of housing options that will provide a stronger tax base to maintain Sugar Land’s high level of services and amenities while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates.  This type of development also has many other benefits, such as creating desirable workplaces for new, expanded and existing businesses, pathways to homeownership, public infrastructure improvements and quality of place amenities.

“The Historic District is one of the top priorities of our City Council and extremely important to our residents and our history,” said City Manager Michael W. Goodrum. “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.

“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.

“Imperial exemplifies entrepreneurialism and innovation,” Mark Toon, managing partner of Work America Capital and founder and CEO of PUMA, said. “Imperial created thousands of jobs, and it is hard to find a better example of how a company can create an economic boom for a town or region.”

Opportunities for public input will be available at two town halls co-hosted by PUMA and the city 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. 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.

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