Development and investment firms Lionstone Investments, Planned Community Developers and Rebees pledged their commitment to doubling the $46.9 million in investments Lionstone had made since it acquired the shopping center in 2013 at a joint Sugar Land 4B Corporation and Sugar Land Development Corporation meeting on March 7. Sugar Land Town Square is owned by Lionstone and managed by Rebees, a Dallas-based real estate company.
The pledge came as Rebees offered a state of business for Sugar Land Town Square and explained its intentions for the future.
A significant portion of investment into the Sugar Land Town Square came during what Rebees Managing Partner Tom Patterson dubbed the “COVID[-19] era,” or 2019 through 2022. Over those three years, investors poured $27.3 million into the center, which is more than half of the $46.9 million that has been allocated to date.
Investments so far include business facade improvements, signage and wayfinding, streetscaping, enhanced public spaces and branding, as well as event planning, Patterson said.
“The vast majority of people that are coming [to Sugar Land Town Square] are coming from outside of the metroplex. It is a draw,” said Matt Ragan, Rebees director of retail programming and operations.
Under Lionstone’s ownership, the town square has seen retail occupancy as low as 50% and as high as 90%, according to Patterson.
The cornerstone of Rebees leasing strategy over the past decade has been office leasing. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Patterson said Rebees has had to re-evaluate its strategy.
Office tenants in Sugar Land Town Square include GR Energy, Insperity and Westin Homes. But keeping those tenants has been difficult, Patterson said.
“We find ourselves competing with other submarkets, other office markets that even do worse than what we have here,” Patterson said.
Patterson said the coming year will be big for investments, as Rebees pledged $21.6 million for 2023 alone. With that funding, the company intends to continue storefront renovations, expanding its marketing and event strategy, and establishing a community clubhouse.
The clubhouse, as Patterson described it, is intended to be a business incubator and a way to elevate Sugar Land Town Square’s office environment above standard office leasing services. Here, tenants and “insiders” can host public and private events, and enjoy work spaces, a fitness center and other amenities that could be used to encourage potential tenants into leasing—and staying—at Sugar Land Town Square, he said.
Here is how 2023 breaks down for investing:
- $6.7 million: retail development
- $14 million: office development
- $900,000: parking
This year aside, Reebees announced that it intends to spend $21.3 million from 2024 to 2027 for improvements that would finalize the vision of Sugar Land Town Square, including common space attractions.