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Lionstone Investments launches extensive remodel of Sugar Land Town Square https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2020/10/14/lionstone-sugar-land-town-square-remodel.html    

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Is it just me, or does it seem like Sugar Land just copies everything they see the Woodlands doing? "Elements of a downtown combined with a walkable area"...

The Sugar Land task force travelled to Reston, Virginia, to study the Reston Town Center...which is the model for the one currently built and being built in Sugar Land. You'll find that the 'town center' concept is universal across the US in a number of communities...so i'm not sure that they're just copying the Woodlands.

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From what I remember, the SL and Woodlands town square projects began about the same time... I don't think one copied off the other. I think it's a great idea for both places. I believe I once read that Friendswood has something similar in the planningstages.

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I wish they would stop with the town squares. These places look like movie sets, not walkable urban cities.

Fair enough, but their heart's in the right place. Trying to create a walkable urban city in a suburban area in an automobile-dominated era is a tough design challenge. I think they are trying to capture somewhat of an urban flavor for people who may not feel comfortable in a New York-style urban environment.

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I actually just left there and say what you will, but this place looks great. To actually see residences above retail (a lot of it is open by the way) in a city like Houston is a accomplishment. People were walking along the sidewalks on their way to the restaraunts and stores, couples were sitting on the steps of City Hall by the fountains, and the storefront retail along the sidewalks was very inviting.

None of the residences looked as if they were occupied at the moment but seeing residential windows above those storefronts just made me lust for one. I'm sure they are going to be very popular.

I hope the city of Houston and some of the developers that are allowed to develop in the city, take note of what Sugarland has done and how inviting that type of development is to actual people instead of soley thinking of the automobile.

I'm aware the types of developments like Sugarland Town Square come a dime a dozen in this country, but in Houston it is like something dropped from Heaven.

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I actually just left there and say what you will, but this place looks great. To actually see residences above retail (a lot of it is open by the way) in a city like Houston is a accomplishment. People were walking along the sidewalks on their way to the restaraunts and stores, couples were sitting on the steps of City Hall by the fountains, and the storefront retail along the sidewalks was very inviting.

None of the residences looked as if they were occupied at the moment but seeing residential windows above those storefronts just made me lust for one. I'm sure they are going to be very popular.

I hope the city of Houston and some of the developers that are allowed to develop in the city, take note of what Sugarland has done and how inviting that type of development is to actual people instead of soley thinking of the automobile.

I'm aware the types of developments like Sugarland Town Square come a dime a dozen in this country, but in Houston it is like something dropped from Heaven.

VelvetJ...I couldn't agree more. The fact that Sugar Land can pull off mixed-use psuedo urban development should surely be a sign that an area like Midtown can as well. Granted, it'slikely easier to attract the big names to Sugar Land than it is to Midtown - but nonetheless, they seemto have the right idea and in midtown, i feel like we could learn something from it.

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I like this one better than the one in The Woodlands, because this one has more midrise structures, and it has the city hall, as well as the residential elements. This is more urban, as Market street has ALOT of parking lots on the parameters of the project. SLTS has several garages, and street front parking with meters. It is a nice urban oasis. Plus, SL has plans for an even grander development across 59- similar to the Woodlands Waterway, but not quite. It will include more midrise shops, and some high density res (condos, townhomes, lofts, etc)

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I wish they would stop with the town squares. These places look like movie sets, not walkable urban cities.

I think it's a great idea. It attempts to satisfy our current desire for quaint/upscale village/centrally located amenities. The clock tower does a bit look like the "Back to The Future" movie set though.

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I think it's a great idea. It attempts to satisfy our current desire for quaint/upscale village/centrally located amenities. The clock tower does a bit look like the "Back to The Future" movie set though.

No no, I drove by this afternoon coming back from Corpus Christi. Not only is it almost cartoonish, but the surrouding area adds to the unreal quality of it.

That drive in along US59 is one of the most depressing drives I've ever made.

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how is the drive down 59 depressing. that is the stupidest things i have ever heard. please explain. because I think that 59 is one of the best drives in the city. i love all the development along the freeway. it makes you feel like you are in a city instead of some hick town.

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how is the drive down 59 depressing.  that is the stupidest things i have ever heard.  please explain.  because I think that 59 is one of the best drives in the city.  i love all the development along the freeway.  it makes you feel like you are in a city instead of some hick town.

By city you mean sprawl?

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No no, I drove by this afternoon coming back from Corpus Christi.  Not only is it almost cartoonish, but the surrouding area adds to the unreal quality of it.

That drive in along US59 is one of the most depressing drives I've ever made.

If I may ask UrbanLandscape, did you get off of 59 and actually go into the Town Square to see what it was like?

Also, if you find 59 depressing, what freeway in Houston do you find the most exciting? I-45 north or south, I-10 East or West, 290, or some other Freeway?

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If I may ask UrbanLandscape, did you get off of 59 and actually go into the Town Square to see what it was like?

Also, if you find 59 depressing, what freeway in Houston do you find the most exciting? I-45 north or south, I-10 East or West, 290, or some other Freeway?

I don't think you want me to answer that.

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^

Oh my bad, I took your statement as 59 was worse in appearance and more depressing than other freeways in Houston.

I actually love that our freeways are lined with office buildings and businesses, etc., it's just I think it could be done a whole lot better in some places (I-45 is a big pet-peeve of mine). Houston sprawls, and is what it is, and I actually have always had issue with the reasoning of those that believe that any place that is spread out is not a city.

So when you are traveling up 59 and don't feel you are in a city, that is a opinion that I think many in Houston would disagree with. Oh well, to each his own.

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  • 1 month later...
Ok, but remember you asked:

Pretty much every drive into houston is depressing, and that's quite unfortunate.

Hey UrbanLandscape,

In that case, I guess you could say that about freeways in any big city. After all, which big city freeway is NOT boring/depressing? Driving on NJ Turnpike going to NY or driving on I-5 going to LA is just about as boring. Please don

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What can I say?  Some are worse than others.  However, there are some highways that do an excellent job, proving it's possible, like US75/Central Expressway in Dallas, to name just one of many.  I understand Seattle has great freeway entrances.

I havnt been to Dallas. Yeah, Seattle does have great freeway entrances. However, I think most of that is due to natual beauty of the area created by the hills and lakes. Unfortunately, we dont have that kind of natual beauty in Houston.

You could also count Highway 1 going to San Francisco via Golden Gate bridge or the Parkway going to New York City from upstate New York. However, again, thats due to the hills and water in the area.

What have they done with US75 in Dallas? I guess they could try replicating that in Houston. By the way, you aren't from Dallas, right? :)

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What have they done with US75 in Dallas? I guess they could try replicating that in Houston. By the way, you aren't from Dallas, right?

Actually, I was born and raised there, I just go to school in Huntsville, first time I've lived away in my life, these last four months.

I'll try to find some pictures of Central; it's a great looking stretch of highway.

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Ironically enough, 59 inside of the loop from the edge of the Greenway Plaza area through the Montrose will look somewhat similar to what was done on the Central Expressway in Dallas. Once the construction is done, the ivy and vegitation has matured more, and all of the bridges with the fibre optics are finished, it is going to be just as attractive, if not more so.

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Ironically enough, 59 inside of the loop from the edge of the Greenway Plaza area through the Montrose will look somewhat similar to what was done on the Central Expressway in Dallas. Once the construction is done, the ivy and vegitation has matured more, and all of the bridges with the fibre optics are finished, it is going to be just as attractive, if not more so.

I'm very glad to hear this. My feelings on highways are that as long as we still have them, they should at least look good. Anyone have any renderings or some idea of what it will look like?

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It's almost done, although it doesn't stretch quite that much. The gateway to Houston section starts at Greenbriar and ends around Montrose, with only one bridge left to complete. I guess they are keeping the elevated freeway to the east. To the west it becomes plain old US59.

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  • 4 weeks later...

kudos to sugarland.

these new "downtowns" will take cars off of the freeways. for instance, why live in sugarland and come to the galleria to shop when you have high-end retailers closer to these new concentrations of wealth and residences. consider the woodlands' residents who used to travel to the galleria area several times a month who now go there less because of the stores opening in the woodlands.

there were some surveys done (pre-market street) of woodlands area shoppers. they found that more than 80% were shopping in houston at least twice a month. more than 95% said they would not drive in to houston if the same stores were here. several of the stores listed as favorites are now here: urban outfitters, cheesecake factory, william sonoma, pottery barn, sur la table, storehouse, smith & hawkin, etc.

unfortunately, i could not find the survey to provide a link. i believe it was linked through the market street website or town center.

Woodlands Town Center

this is good for the environment and may eventually provide the format for less intracity travel. think "outlying urban villages" that will eventually be connected to the central city by commuter rail. in my perfect world, the vast acreage that would begin to be available between these centers of activity could be returned to natural habitats, farms, etc.

ok, coming back to earth now. ;)

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kudos to sugarland.

these new "downtowns" will take cars off of the freeways.  for instance, why live in sugarland and come to the galleria to shop when you have high-end retailers closer to these new concentrations of wealth and residences.  consider the woodlands' residents who used to travel to the galleria area several times a month who now go there less because of the stores opening in the woodlands.

there were some surveys done (pre-market street) of woodlands area shoppers.  they found that more than 80% were shopping in houston at least twice a month.  more than 95% said they would not drive in to houston if the same stores were here.  several of the stores listed as favorites are now here:  urban outfitters, cheesecake factory, william sonoma, pottery barn, sur la table, storehouse, smith & hawkin, etc.

unfortunately, i could not find the survey to provide a link.  i believe it was linked through the market street website or town center.

Woodlands Town Center

this is good for the environment and may eventually provide the format for less intracity travel.  think "outlying urban villages" that will eventually be connected to the central city by commuter rail.  in my perfect world, the vast acreage that would begin to be available between these centers of activity could be returned to natural habitats, farms, etc.

ok, coming back to earth now.  ;)

I totally agree. I think this would be awesome if that would happen with each of these suburbs turning into their own little urban village. I know living here in LA it is somewhat like that with Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Long Beach, and Anaheim each having their own little downtown. Then those suburbs are all linked to downtown LA and Hollywood by metrorail. I hope something like this will eventually happen to the Houston area.

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http://www.downtownsilverspring.com/index.shtml

Can someone tell me this is not an exact replica of downtown Silver Springs, in DC?

[edit: Of coarse this came first, or atleast I am sure it was of no influence. Just a funny coincidence.]

It does look quite similar to the town center project in Sugar Land but honestly would you expect anything different from the suburbs. Everything there looks exactly the same anyway. Regardless, I still think it's great that these suburbs are building their own "downtown" so there can be some centrally located area that these people can congregate. Hopefully the rest of this project when finished will look just as nice as what is already completed. I hope that project on the other side of 59 tries to make it as urban as possible. I would hate for the property fronting that creek to be turned into another strip shopping center. Hopefully one day these suburban "downtowns" will connect with Houston downtown and Uptown/ Galleria by rail. Wouldn't that be cool.

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I hope that project on the other side of 59 tries to make it as urban as possible.  I would hate for the property fronting that creek to be turned into another strip shopping center. 

This is what I thought too. These developers have prime spots along the creek and they are wasting them with building just generic strip centers with their back facing the water. Couldnt they think of a water-front development with cafes, restuarants fronting the creek?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I shared with other posters a somewhat cynical view of SLTS and other similar attempts in the Woodlands and Friendswood, until this weekend when I actually spent some time there. Residents and visitors were actually using the place like a real town center--there were people everywhere, shopping in the stores, dining in the restaurants, drinking in the bars and wine bar, snacking at Ben and Jerry's, milling about the hotel (there are always tons of people at that Marriott, and I cannot figure out why they are all there). Beyond all this, Saturday evening the City set up a big projection screen in front of City hall and showed an animated family movie on the town square. The square was quite full of families enjoying the show together. I must admit I was very impressed at how quickly SLTS has become a part of life in Sugar Land. We'll see what happens when summer hits. I'm still not sure if the success these mixed use projects have had on the west coast will translate so well to cities with climates such as Houston's. I think it would be a good idea to add a movie theater to the mix--perhaps a two-story job like the Edwards inside the loop to give that urban feel. Sugarland has always reminded me of Orange County, CA--particularly Irvine, and there are Edwards theaters everywhere you look there--some of them in very similar developments.

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We'll see what happens when summer hits. I'm still not sure if the success these mixed use projects have had on the west coast will translate so well to cities with climates such as Houston's

I think there are open-air establishments in cities as Denver and those in the north east. Winter isnt easy in those cities but apparently they seem to be doing fine. Also, I think that SLTS and other such places usually get busier in the evenings which shouldnt be too bad (although I havnt lived in Houston long enough to experience evenings in summer).

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It should do fine in the summer. Ever been to River Oaks, Rice Village or Highland Village in the summer? Upper 90s with high humidity during the day with the night temps being around mid 80s and same humidy and people are still filling the stores.

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I shared with other posters a somewhat cynical view of SLTS and other similar attempts in the Woodlands and Friendswood, until this weekend when I actually spent some time there. Residents and visitors were actually using the place like a real town center--there were people everywhere, shopping in the stores, dining in the restaurants, drinking in the bars and wine bar, snacking at Ben and Jerry's, milling about the hotel (there are always tons of people at that Marriott, and I cannot figure out why they are all there). Beyond all this, Saturday evening the City set up a big projection screen in front of City hall and showed an animated family movie on the town square. The square was quite full of families enjoying the show together. I must admit I was very impressed at how quickly SLTS has become a part of life in Sugar Land. We'll see what happens when summer hits. I'm still not sure if the success these mixed use projects have had on the west coast will translate so well to cities with climates such as Houston's. I think it would be a good idea to add a movie theater to the mix--perhaps a two-story job like the Edwards inside the loop to give that urban feel. Sugarland has always reminded me of Orange County, CA--particularly Irvine, and there are Edwards theaters everywhere you look there--some of them in very similar developments.

Well, hold on. The Woodlands have a 20 screen tinseltown theater across the way from the new 6 screen cinema they building in market street. So, I guess it would work in sugarland town center, but they have to built it smaller, like 5-6 screen theater.

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