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Perry's Making Magic Happen In Sugar Land


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Council erects "firewall" around mayor

By: SESHADRI KUMAR, Reporter, HCN, 03/08/05

Sugar Land City Council members have expressed their "disappointment" over Mayor David Wallace's business relation with a developer who plans to redevelop the Imperial Sugar Mill property.

City council has concurred with City Manager Allen Bogard's proposal to create a "firewall" between Wallace and the Imperial redevelopment project.

Bogard released a press statement last week, incorporating Mayor pro-tem Cyril Hosley's comments. The statement is believed to be the result of a consensus among all council members that their concern be made public.

Simultaneously, Wallace also issued a statement, as requested by Bogard.

Hosley states, "I am very disappointed that Mayor Wallace's business interest has put the City in this situation. The City Council cannot force the mayor to choose between his business interest and his political career. Therefore, I want to assure the citizens that decisions we make are in no way influenced by the Mayor or his relationships. I believe that my fellow City Council members join me in my concern for the Mayor's relationship with Perry Interests and the perception it has created. I am confident the City Manager, the staff, and the City Council will provide a reliable process resulting in continued quality development that is in the best interest of the City of Sugar Land."

Bogard says he has been continuously thinking through the many challenges that have and will come before the City since the announcement regarding the sale of the Imperial Sugar Property, two weeks ago.

"This is a critical project for our City - the potential impact on our neighboring residential and business communities and the preservation of our history." Bogard adds, "The relationship of Mayor Wallace and Perry Interests has created an additional challenge for the City in ensuring the integrity of the development process to the public."

Bogard has asked Wallace to relinquish his involvement in all aspects of this project and make a public statement to that effect. "I believe we must create a "firewall" around the Mayor regarding this project. I commit to the citizens of Sugar Land to provide due diligence on their behalf and uphold their confidence in an open, trustworthy development process," Bogard says.

Bogard will serve as the single point of contact for the developer and will lead his team of professionals at the City to work with the developer through the public development process established by ordinance. A meeting was held last week with Cherokee Investments and their team to make introductions. This was the first of many meetings to occur.

At the City Council Meeting on March 15, Bogard will request the creation of a City Manager Task Force made up of three city council members to serve as a sounding board and to provide oversight for the project as he and the staff enter into negotiations with the developer.

Additionally, Bogard will be presenting and asking the city council to approve a resolution that outlines the City's intent for the property including the need for a Development Agree-ment to adequately address the various aspects of the project, the project plan, and project timing.

Hosley concurs with Bogard that his approach allows the city to begin on the right path to ensure that the development /redevelopment process proceeds in a timely, efficient, open and trustworthy manner. Hosley adds, "The Imperial Sugar project is very important to all of us. We are excited about the involvement of Cherokee Investments. Their experience in projects of this nature indicate an ability to develop this site in a manner consistent with the vision and goals of our City."

Councilman Russell Jones says the strategy being developed by council and the city manager should be given a chance.

"I would like it to work. At this stage, I am not asking for the mayor's resignation. If that strategy does not work, then we will have to revisit the issue," Jones says.

Councilman Tom Abraham echoes the sentiment of other council members and says what the mayor did was unfortunate. He would work his best to ensure that people have confidence in the process that is being proposed to deal with the Imperial redevelopment project.

Councilman Dennis Parmar says he would have liked the mayor to have his business dealings elsewhere and not in the city. "We as city council and residents need to have some questions answered," Parmar says. The Imperial

redevelopment is way too important and to ensure that the project is not harmed in any way, rules of engagement need to be defined so that it builds trust in the process, he says.

Mayor's statement

Following is the statement issued by Wallace:

"At the request of our City Manager and my fellow City Council Members, I am offering this statement to the public regarding my non-involvement with the sale and future redevelopment of the Imperial Sugar Property.

Imperial Sugar announced on February 18 that a preliminary agreement had been reached with Cherokee Investments and W.C. Perry Land Development for the sale of the Sugar Mill property in Sugar Land.

As I previously stated, I have consummated a business transaction with W. C. Perry Realty Investment Fund, LP and W. C. Perry Properties, LP whereby I will serve as Chairman of the Investment Committee. This business involvement is not associated in any way with W.C. Perry Land Development, LP, or any other entity involved in the Imperial transaction. I have relocated my business office to Perry's office in Sugar Land in early January. I would like to reiterate that neither I, nor the W.C. Perry Realty Investment Fund, LP or W.C. Perry Properties, LP, will have any economic interest, either directly or indirectly, to either W.C. Perry Land Development, LP, Cher-okee Investment or Imperial Sugar, and I (including W.C. Perry Realty Investment Fund, LP & W.C. Perry Properties, LP) have not or will not benefit directly or indirectly, from any such transaction.

In consultation with the City Manager and the City Council, I agree and am fully aware that I have a responsibility to the public and am therefore providing this additional commitment. I am committing that I will relinquish any and all involvement in all aspects of the Imperial Sugar Property Sale and redevelopment. This includes any involvement regarding this project with City officials, the developer and development team, Imperial Sugar Company and the city staff. This also includes any and all involvement with State Representatives, the General Land Office and other members involved in the sale of the adjacent property known as Tract 3. Lastly, from and after the date of this statement, I relinquish all of my discussions regarding the Imperial project with representatives of adjoining properties, neighborhood interests, and all of the public as well as the media (except for statements pertaining to my non-involvement).

I join the City Manager and my fellow City Council Members in taking this additional step in ensuring an abundance of precaution regarding this project. I ask the public to respect this position and direct all inquiries regarding the project to the City Manager."

Management district

In a related development, Perry Land Development on Feb. 23 published a full page notice of intention to introduce a bill in the Texas Legislature toward creating a special management district for the Imperial property.

The city was caught by surprise and had no idea why such a move was made without even informing the city.

City council, at a workshop presided by Wallace on March 1, discussed the notice and directed the city manager to oppose the bill, if necessary.

Will Perry of Perry Land Development told the Fort Bend Sun that there was insufficient time to initiate the legislative process and the company's attorneys had to rush to print the notice as a 30-day notice was required before introducing the bill.

Bogard said Perry had explained the circumstances and apologized for what happened.

Perry says his attorneys are preparing a brief to explain to the city why such a management district is needed for redeveloping the property. If the city is not satisfied with the need for a management district, the bill will not be filed, he says.

Perry has about a year to conclude the deal with the Imperial Sugar Mill.

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"This is a critical project for our City - the potential impact on our neighboring residential and business communities and the preservation of our history."

...and they are considering a deal with Perry? Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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Man, Perry is going to ruin the development. Instead of some nice old style themed development, we should all expect a bunch of generic cardboard boxes.

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In a related development, Perry Land Development on Feb. 23 published a full page notice of intention to introduce a bill in the Texas Legislature toward creating a special management district for the Imperial property.

The city was caught by surprise and had no idea why such a move was made without even informing the city.

Let's see, Sugar Land is prime Tom DeLay country, isn't it? Who here thinks this won't just somehow "happen" for Perry Land Development? :lol:

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Are you sure that's the same Perry - Perry Homes? I thought his first name was Bob.

edit Nevermind. I looked it up through Google and realized that W.C. Perry was his father. Did you know that he was vice president of student affairs at Baylor, and that he asked Tom DeLay not to re-enroll at that university?

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I thought W.C. was his son...

Bob's the old one, I think..Ive seen pics of him, and i read that W.C. is the son in an article somewhere. W.C. is the one who manages commercial properties. In Sugarland/Richmond, W.C. recently sold some commercial land in the Waterside Estates devlopment (I think this was a Perry enterprise) to PCDLTD, which planned first colony. Also, I have noticed ALOT of W.C. Perry signs popping up everywhere. Sure, peerry is a decent homebuilder out in the burbs, but IMO, they really should avoid the inner city, and urban developments, since they seem to want to make a quick buck instead of nice developments. Hopefully, they improve soon, since they don't seem to be slowing in momentum...

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Anyone have anything in the way of potential plans by Perry or any other developer for that matter on what they want to do with the site? I can see them making lofts out of the brick factory, but what about all those metal buildings to the east? I say tear them down and develop an urban townhome type neighborhood with a little park.

I also like citykid's idea of running an electric New Orleans style trolley through the city. I would start it on North Eldridge around Airport (Sugarmill) and run it down to Jess Pirtle (Old Sugarland). From there I would head west to Burney/Main (Sugarlakes) and run it south to US90. Then west to Brooks, through Hwy 6 (Meadow Lakes) to the Town Center. I guess you could run an additional line west to the Clements/Plantation area and a line south by souteast along HWY 6 for the Sugarcreek residents.

I'm looking to move to Sugar Land soon and I would be all over the trolley idea. I think that could really tighten up that city and create a more urban feel. Just a thought..

I think I read that they had planned on tearing down everything but the water tower and the charhouse (brick building) because of their historical value. The info published in the newspaper was that they were thinking about doing lofts in the top floors of the charhouse, a museum on the 2nd floor, and retail on the first floor. I'm not sure what they planned with the rest, but it will expand outside of that property and also include the state land around Voss road that was recently annexed. Not the prison land that Newland is developing, but right near it. I think they had also mentioned ripping off the SA Riverwalk/Woodlands Waterway idea. Those were just prelim ideas though. Who knows what they actually plan. Maybe I'll ask the city if anything is available through freedom of information request yet. If it has been presented to City Council, the meeting videos are available on Sugar Land's website.

I couldn't see the trolley thing happening, but I agree with you that it would be cool.

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  • The title was changed to Perry's Making Magic Happen In Sugar Land

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