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A Refined Development

You’ve heard about the baseball stadium going up on the historic Imperial Sugar Refinery site in Sugar Land. But there’s much more in the works for the location.

Ballpark and refinery district

TBG Partners principals Bill Odle and Drew Mengwasser, who started master planning redevelopment of the area four years ago before Johnson Development or the stadium were in the picture. (It’s actually two sites: Tract 3, owned by the General Land Office, and the Refinery site, owned by Cherokee Investment Partners.) They tell us the 716-acre site is one of the last large developable sites in Sugar Land. It’s mostly agricultural land that was used as prison farm land. (For the record, that’s one step above Indian burial ground on the Bisnow “Is it Haunted?” meter.) TBG’s original master plan called for a mixed-use and traditional single-family development. When the city chose the site for the stadium in July, TBG had to quickly rework plans. Now it consists of four distinct districts: the Refinery district, Ballpark district, Highway 6 commercial district, and a professional business park district.

The 40-acre refinery district, rendered above, is in the early stages of design. Drew tells us the goal is to save several historic buildings including the old charhouse (where sugar was refined), a warehouse, and the water tower (the tallest structure in Fort Bend County). The refinery district will have retail space, restaurants, possibly a theater, the Fort Bend History Museum, multifamily space, and a 300-room boutique hotel. We’re told another hotel might be added if the stadium draws enough visitors (or really large opposing teams). The space between the refinery district and the ballpark will also be developed as mixed-use with lots of green space and trails around Oyster Creek.

Drew and Bill say the city’s involvement has brought a project from a four-year drawing board to action, but it’s still uncertain how development will proceed. Buildings have already been torn down in the refinery district and Johnson Development is talking with potential partners to break ground. Bill says to open the ballpark by spring 2012, infrastructure will need to be built through the site, including two bridges over Oyster Creek. He predicts this will spur development in other districts and expects there will be construction underway on other projects when the stadium opens

Article from Real Estate Bisnow

Categories: Uncategorized
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