When people think of Sugar Land, it’s hard to characterize what first comes to mind. For some, it’s the history. Sugar Land has a long past dating to its time as a center of sugar production. That past can be seen, for example, in the towering Imperial Sugar mill and refinery. For others, Sugar Land is representative of life away from the bustling urban center of Houston. With many planned communities around its borders, Sugar Land has become a hot destination for home buyers.
However, Sugar Land also stands out due to the strong economy it has been able to maintain. This is exemplified in the city’s office occupancy. With nearly 83% of all office properties occupied, Sugar Land is continuing to attract businesses and commercial enterprises even while other parts of the Houston area struggle to attract tenants. How is Sugar Land performing so strongly and attracting so many commercial tenants to the area?
When compared to larger Houston, Sugar Land has a relatively small amount of office space. However, this space tends to be perfect for smaller tenants, who are sometimes pushed out of the larger Houston market. These smaller tenants tend to not leave whenever economic crises occur. Larger companies, in a rush to cut costs, can shut down what are deemed unnecessary operations. Smaller companies don’t have the excess staff to cut in many cases.
So, the larger organizations in the Houston metro area cut operations, leading to plenty of unleased space. In Sugar Land, the abundance of smaller tenants means there are fewer cuts. Office space tends to remain occupied in Sugar Land, even when there is a financial downturn. The city also benefits from the fact that it offers a variety of different spaces for rent. These office spaces experience little fluctuation in price, which also makes it appealing for smaller organizations hoping to avoid the fluctuations in the larger Houston metro area. Simply put, Sugar Land absorbs smaller tenants due to a combination of diverse rental properties with stable rental prices.
It should also be noted that, despite the fact that Sugar Land has less available office space than the rest of Houston, the office space within the city’s borders has expanded over the years. The amount of office space available has grown as the city has experienced waves of economic development. Particularly as its economic foundation has become much more diverse, Sugar Land has experienced an economic boom that has lured more tenants and forced the city to develop further office space.
That economic development can be attributed to the Sugar Land Economic Development Council in conjunction with the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council. The joint effort of these two organizations has helped lure new businesses into the area. Some of the successes of these organizations has included attracting companies such as Minute Maid, Houston Methodist, and United Health into Sugar Land. That has led to a 40% increase in jobs in the city over just the past five years alone.