Telfair, Sugar Land
In 2002 the State of Texas sold a parcel of land from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Prison Unit to Newland Communities, a developer from San Diego, California. The property was one of the last large tracts within the city limits of Sugar Land that was open for development. In February 2005 Newland broke ground on Telfair, a master planned community located on former prison land. The community was named after a square in downtown Savannah, Georgia. The developer planned to build 4,000 to 4,500 houses, and it planned to open the first group of houses in the northern hemisphere Spring of 2006. The development opened in 2006.
In 2009 Telfair had a 10% sales increase. At that time new house sales in most areas of Houston had decreased by double digits. As of March 2010, of the 2,800 planned houses, over 1,600 of them had been constructed. In 2010 the Houston Business Journal awarded the development three landmark awards: one for the best residential community, and two for transforming a housing facility of the Central Unit into a museum facility.
The Imperial State Farm Cemetery, where inmates from the old prison were buried from 1912 to the 1930s, still remains in the center of a grass field in the northwest section of Telfair. Telfair's central road, University Boulevard, was previously named Flanagan Road after Imperial Prison Farm (the old name of the Central Prison Unit) warden R. J. "Buck" Flanagan (1880–1949), who held the position for 30 years until his death.
In 2012, Texas Instruments announced that it was relocating its Fort Bend County operations from Stafford to the Telfair area. The construction was completed and the building opened in early 2014.
Parks and recreation
The community includes Telfair Central Hall, a 9,545-square-foot (886.8 m2) community center with a design matching the former Central Unit Two Camp building. The building is near New Territory Boulevard and University Boulevard.
The original community plans stated that 417 acres (169 ha) of the property would be recreational land. Newland planned to add a 70-acre (28 ha) lake. The community includes a plot of land earmarked to house a future municipal park, which would take an additional 70 acres.
Houston Museum of Natural Science Sugar Land
The former Central Unit parcel included a former inmate dormitory, Two Camp, Newland decided to restore the former dormitory building, which had some broken windows and some loose exterior bricks. The company arranged to place a new metal roof on the building. City officials and local historians positively reacted to the decision from Newland. In 2009 the 43,000 square feet (4,000 m2) Two Camp Building and its surrounding land became the Houston Museum of Natural Science Sugar Land. The subdivision donated the building and land to the City of Sugar Land, and the city leases the building to the museum. The museum spent $3 million to help renovate the building.
- Wollam, Allison. "Newland to transform prison land into Telfair." Houston Business Journal. Sunday February 27, 2005. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- Hanson, Eric. "Houston museum branching out." Houston Chronicle. January 24, 2008. Retrieved on November 19, 2010.
- Feser, Katherine. "Telfair Central Hall returning to Sugar Land earlier days." Houston Chronicle. Monday March 1, 2010. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- Fortbendnow Staff. "Telfair Wins 3 HBJ Landmark Awards." Instant Fort Bend (Houston Chronicle). April 13, 2010. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- Pulsinelli, Olivia. "Texas Instruments to build Sugar Land facility, employ 375." Houston Business Journal. Wednesday November 7, 2012. Updated Friday November 9, 2012. Retrieved on November 13, 2012.
- Sheryl, Jean. "Sugar Land approves incentives for Texas Instruments to build an R&D center (Updated with map, 3 p.m.)." The Dallas Morning News. November 7, 2012. Retrieved on November 13, 2012.
- "Community Map." (Flash file) Telfair. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- "Cornerstone Elementary Attendance Zone." Fort Bend Independent School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- "Sartartia Middle School Attendance Zone." Fort Bend Independent School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- "Clements High School Attendance Zone." Retrieved on April 2, 2015
- "Kempner High School Attendance Zone." Fort Bend Independent School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
- Shauk, Zain. "Plan to close Sugar Land prison could save millions, free up land." Houston Chronicle. Friday January 21, 2011. Retrieved on September 23, 2011.