The City of Sugar Land released a Request for Statements of Interest (RSI) on Jan. 18 to begin selection of a private-sector partner for a future hotel and convention/conference center project – the next step in fulfilling the vision for five specific destination venues outlined by a citizen-led task force in 2007.
Overall, the efforts are part of a larger, successful strategy that have been in place for more than a decade to grow and solidify Sugar Land’s reputation as an economic powerhouse and destination location – as well as increase the city’s financial resilience through the development of unique destination venues. The project is planned to be located on city-owned property adjacent to the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land and Plaza near U.S. Highway 59 and University Boulevard.
The city has a long history of partnering with industry leaders to develop destination venues, as it did on the first two venues recommended by the citizen-led Visioning Task Force in 2007 and confirmed by voters in 2008 – Constellation Field, home of the Atlantic League champion Sugar Land Skeeters, and Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land. Similar to those two projects, no general property tax dollars will support the development or operation of the new hotel and convention/conference center project.
The hotel and convention/conference center project is seen as a key component of an arts and entertainment district and is intended to complement the Smart Financial Centre, a 6,400-seat live entertainment venue that has annually attracted more than 350,000 paid attendees during its first two years of operation, earning continued global recognition as one of the world’s top 10 theatre venues and providing a projected annual benefit to the community of $26.1 million over 30 years.
The proposed hotel and convention/conference center site is also located in a major primary employment center that includes Texas Instruments, Fluor Corporation’s planned new campus and the University of Houston – Sugar Land. With those commitments for the creation of an exciting office and entertainment-centric, mixed-use regional activity center, the city continues to expand its economy, adding jobs and generating new revenue that ensures Sugar Land is able to fund the high level of services expected by residents while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates.
“Several years ago, citizens developed a vision for the future that included this project, and we are now at the brink of adding an asset that will improve the quality of life and financial well-being of our city,” said Director of Economic Development Elizabeth Huff. “Just like the other projects we are continuing to pursue and support – such as a world-class light industrial business park on the former Central Unit prison property and the transformation of the Imperial Sugar refinery site into a thriving regional activity center – we fully expect this venue will spur additional commercial and retail growth that further establishes Sugar Land as one of the strongest economies in the region.”
Consistent with the established practice of protecting the city’s business and financial interests, the city envisions the selection of a private development partner who will bring financial resources and construction expertise to build and operate a 350-room nationally branded hotel and a convention convention/conference of up to 50,000 square feet as recommended by a previously completed feasibility study. Adjacent structured parking is anticipated, as well as the reservation of space within the overall site for a community cultural arts venue – the fifth venue recommended by citizens in 2007. For more information on the project or to download the RSI, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/hotelcc. The deadline for submittals is March 15 at noon.