Sugar Land City Council approved a pair of items on first reading at the Dec. 5 meeting needed before developers can move forward the recently announced Lake Pointe Plaza.

The overview

In August, Sugar Land-based developer Planned Community Developers announced plans for the construction of Lake Pointe Plaza—a 69-acre, mixed-use development consisting of:
  • Retail space
  • Medical facilities
  • High-density housing
  • Office buildings
  • Hotels
  • Entertainment venues
The project will be located along Creekbend Drive and Fluor Daniel Drive, and will largely consist of redeveloping the existing 52-acre Fluor Corp. campus. Officials said more than 1 million square feet of office space will be vacated when the company relocates to the Energy Corridor in July.

Officials also said the project area falls within the 148-acre Lake Pointe Regional Activity Center located along Hwy. 6 and. I-69, noting it's one of several regional activity centers throughout the city aimed at promoting tourism and hosting citywide events.

At the Dec. 5 meeting, council members approved first considerations on a pair of ordinances that would amend the city’s land use plan and development plan to allow for the creation of the Lake Pointe Redevelopment District. Officials said the amendments, along with the approval of a redevelopment concept plan, are required before the project can move forward.

A closer look

Ruth Lohmer, Sugar Land assistant director of community planning and redevelopment, said the first ordinance would amend the city’s land-use plan to allow for flexibility in revising land-use distribution in the area. The ordinance would also change the number of multifamily units allotted to the area from 444 to 1,100.

Lohmer said the second ordinance would amend the city’s development code by creating the Lake Pointe Redevelopment District, which will create new standards and processes for development in the area.

The new standards will allow for the development of additional housing options—including duplexes, quadplexes and sixplexes—and will allow for housing to be constructed in close proximity to retail and other services, Lohmer said.

Council members did not vote on a proposed redevelopment concept plan for the new district. However, Planned Community Developers President Don Janssen said walkability would be emphasized throughout the development, noting it should take no longer than five minutes for pedestrians to walk from one destination to the next.

“It's got to be experiential, walkable, safe, technologically supported, smartly parked and connected,” Janssen said. “The goal is to create multiple user experiences, whether they be communitywide event focused, like a farmers market or concert, or for the residents that just want to go out and have a cup of coffee along the water.”

Janssen noted the plan didn’t include the level of detail typically associated with concept plans, which he said will give developers more flexibility to adjust to changing market conditions.

What they’re saying

Several Sugar Land residents were on hand during the meeting to speak about the new development. Kings Path Partners owner Mike Mulcahy touted the walkability aspect of the project.

“I've lived in London, I've lived in Boston, I've lived in walkable cities, and I know it's an exciting demographic and exciting way to live,” Mulcahy said. “I think it's a big part of what most cities are trying to develop, and so we have this unique opportunity for Sugar Land to step up and be a leader in this space and build something that is attractive and distinctive to our city.”

Nicole Elder, who resides in The Villas at Lake Pointe, said she believes the redevelopment concept plan is too vague and provides developers with too much leeway.

“We feel like this project, as it has been presented, gives too much of a carte blanche,” Elder said. “Transparency is only as good as the individuals who know and understand what needs to be transparent. I think giving a blanket proposal with nothing specific the developer can be held accountable to will be a disgrace to the residents of Sugar Land.”

What's next

Council members will consider final approval for each ordinance at their Dec. 19 meeting. Officials noted the redevelopment concept plan will be considered at a future meeting, potentially as soon as Dec. 19.