In an effort to remain competitive in the office market, Sugar Land has introduced an office retention incentive program for companies that retain their regional or national office headquarters in the city.

The city approved the economic development incentive during a Nov. 1 meeting of the Sugar Land Development Corp.

The incentive program provides $6,000 per job for qualified businesses to retain office headquarters in Sugar Land, according to a corporation press release, drawing funds from the Sugar Land Development Corp.’s budget.

“Retaining office headquarters is key to maintaining high-paying jobs in Sugar Land,” said Elizabeth Huff, Sugar Land Economic Development director. “Our new incentive program ensures we maintain our office headquarter locations during this highly competitive office market and hopefully grow those high-quality job opportunities in our community.”

To qualify for the program, office headquarters must retain at least 50 primary jobs and renew the existing lease for five to 10 years within the city limits. The program also requires a minimum of $1 million in capital investments allocated toward build-out or office improvements.

Sugar Land’s office market has a 17.4% vacancy rate, a slight increase from three months ago, according to agenda documents. Competing markets, such as the Energy Corridor and Westchase District, report similar vacancy rates but also offer significant concessions for their office spaces.

“The new incentive program enables Sugar Land to retain companies in the highly competitive and fast-growing Houston region,” Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman said. “The new program allows us to target existing companies and selected industries in order to demonstrate our level of commitment and partnership to our business community.”