PLANS UNVEILVED AT SITE OF FORMER IMPERIAL SUGAR REFINERY FOR SHOPPING, DINING, OFFICE, MUSEUM AND HOTEL
The historic structures of the former Imperial Sugar refinery will soon be restored and brought back to life as the signature features of Imperial Market, an upscale shopping, dining, entertainment and cultural destination which incorporates a high-end boutique hotel, Class A office space, the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center and Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Museum, along with luxury, multi-family residences.
Construction of the 777,500-square-foot project at U.S. 90 and Highway 6 will begin in late 2015 with a grand opening slated for spring 2017. Imperial Market is being developed by partners Geoffrey Jones and James Murnane, founders of Imperial Market Development, LLC.
Situated along the banks of Oyster Creek within the 720-acre Imperial master-planned community, Imperial Market will encompass 269,600 square feet of upscale retail space and restaurants, some of which will be located in Imperial’s historic Three-Bay Warehouse which is ideal for larger retail merchants and smaller tenants alike.
The historic, eight-story Char House, built in 1925, will be transformed into a luxury, 120-room Aloft Hotel where varying floor heights, large windows and the iconic building’s steel and brick structure make it ideal for a boutique hotel experience unlike any other in the Houston area. An adjacent building with 10,000 square feet of conference / meeting space with a fitness center will also be built.
The project design calls for the restoration and relocation of Imperial’s iconic twin smokestacks that will serve as the focal point of the project’s central green space, a 30,000-square-foot linear park with interactive pop-up fountains and other unique architectural features.
The recently restored water tower, the tallest west of the Mississippi River when it was built in 1924, will serve as yet another landmark within the Imperial Market development.
Imperial Market’s massive silos will also be carefully preserved and repurposed for potential retail and restaurant space in a manner consistent with the rich historical character of the site.
“We are deeply respectful of the site’s historical significance and are devoted to creating a shopping, working, and living experience where history and commerce seamlessly intersect,” says Geoff Jones, co-developer of the project.
“We want visitors to Imperial Market to know they are somewhere special; a place which expresses authenticity and underscores the history of the site that distinguishes it from any other in our market,” adds co-developer Jim Murnane.
Imperial Market will also include 86,400 square feet of Class A office space over firstfloor retail and 275 luxury-style, multi-family residences to be developed by Sueba USA, one of the nation’s premier multi-family residential developers.
In addition, the site will feature the new home of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center (part of the acclaimed Children’s Museum of Houston) and the Sugar Land Heritage Society Museum, which are expected to attract 150,000 visitors per year. Site work on the museums is already underway.
Imperial Market will also benefit from its proximity to Constellation Field, part of the Imperial master-planned community and home of the Sugar Land Skeeters baseball club, which draws in excess of 500,000 fans per year. In addition, the existing Farmers Market at Imperial, a popular and long-standing tradition at the site, will continue to be a signature event much to the delight of its 1,500 weekly visitors.
Imperial Market will be a short walk or bike ride from the upscale Imperial residential neighborhoods now under construction which will eventually feature nearly 2,000 new homes.
As a convenience to the entire Imperial master planned community, Imperial Market will operate a trolley service with stops in Imperial’s residential neighborhoods, Constellation Field and the adjacent headquarters of Nalco Champion with over 1,000 employees. Free parking for Imperial Market patrons will be available in a convenient four-level parking garage servicing 1,500 cars in addition to nearly 450 surface and curbside parking spaces. Valet service will also be available on-site.
Imperial Market will have multiple points of entry that will connect to an interior ring road which will provide superior circulation for patrons. Once inside the development, visitors will experience a family friendly environment combining the finest in shopping and dining along with cultural opportunities provided by the museums. Multiple public parks and plazas will offer a peaceful escape for shoppers throughout the project.
Since reaching agreement to develop the property, the development team has actively worked with municipal and community leaders to ensure this important project is completed in a manner that pays respect to the inherent character of the site while creating jobs and strengthening the local economy.
The project’s plans, subject to approval by the City of Sugar Land’s Planning & Zoning Department, have been warmly embraced by city leaders.
“The City of Sugar Land enthusiastically supports the project,” notes Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson. “It’s a real game changer for the city and Fort Bend County.”
“We took the time to identify the best team with experience in the financing and development of quality, mixed-use projects,” notes Doug Goff, chief operating officer for The Johnson Development Corp., developer of the 720-acre Imperial master-planned community. “We’re very impressed with the project design. It’s just the right plan for this site.”
Imperial Market has been designed by the renowned global architectural firm HOK and will be constructed by the highly regarded general contracting firm Harvey Builders. Retail leasing is being managed by Garrett Retail Advisors of Fort Worth while office leasing will be handled by Cushman Wakefield. HFF is arranging project financing.
For more information on Imperial Market and to join its e-mail interest list, go towww.ImperialMkt.com.