The airport's master plan identified five airport-owned sites that could be used for nonaviation purposes, with the study aiming to identify the "highest and best use" of each site. That use is determined by what "is legally permissible, physically possible, and financially feasible" while resulting in the highest value, according to airport documents. Uses could include retail, restaurants, hospitality, light industrial use, and office and administrative use, said Elizabeth Rosenbaum, director of aviation at Sugar Land Regional Airport. All sites were evaluated for their potential uses, and all uses were analyzed for their potential value.
While many projects in the airport's master plan are waiting on outside funding from entities such as the Texas Department of Transportation, this project will instead enable another source of revenue for the airport.
"We want to move forward [with projects], but we can't move forward until we figure out what the funding is," Rosenbaum said, adding that the airport is always seeking funding from other grants as well.
The city has collaborated with the airport on the potential use of the land. Devon Rodriguez, assistant director of economic development for the city of Sugar Land, said officials are hoping for the site assessment to be completed in early 2022. That assessment will rank the sites based on qualitative and objective observations and their alignment with local target industry needs.