Located southwest of Houston, Sugar Land has been home to Imperial Sugar Company since 1843. The oldest continuously operating business in Texas, Imperial Sugar closed its Sugar Land refinery in 2003 and Sugar Land’s city council designated the redevelopment of the Imperial property as one of the city’s top priorities. In 2004, Cherokee Investment Partners and the City of Sugar Land forged a partnership to redevelop the refinery, integrating some of Imperial’s landmark historic structures to revitalize the area while preserving the past. The current development plan includes more than 1,500 residential units, 46 acres of mixed-use space, 27 acres of retail space and 58 acres of office space.
As a Senior Advisor to Cherokee, Jeff Kingsbury worked with the development manager, land planners, civil engineers and engineering specialists to increase confidence in the development costs and improve Cherokee’s projected return on invested capital. This included the cost as well as the revenue side, with review of market research and analysis and the addition of higher density products to the development program.
Despite a new urbanist land plan, a conventional and costly stormwater management system was engineered to service the development. The system was redesigned utilizing low impact development techniques and green infrastructure approaches. The result was a 40 percent reduction in stormwater management infrastructure costs, while returning 16 acres for revenue producing land or open space instead of detention; a $4 million positive swing to the proforma. For the City of Sugar Land, the flow and volume of stormwater was reduced, decreasing their treatment costs. In addition, a renewable energy analysis was conducted which showed the viability of centralized cogeneration, geothermal, photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies to service new residential and commercial development.