Big Blue Owners Grow Their Downtown Footprint
The iconic downtown Wichita Falls building known as 'Big Blue' has come a long way in two and half years. Back in the summer of 2013, mechanical failures with the buildings elevators forced then-owner Rodd Womble to give the remaining tenants of the 12-story structure just a few weeks to find new homes.
The building was sold months later to Will Kelty and soon renovations began. Fast forward to 2016 and the vision for downtown seems to be expanding even further. The Times Record News reports that Kelty and co-owner Claro Villanueva have now purchased the First National Bank Building directly behind 'Big Blue' on 8th Street.
The plan is to convert that building into downtown apartments. Other investors found success with such a venture when the old Holt Hotel underwent a multi-million dollar renovation years ago. That facility reportedly has a waiting list of folks hoping for a vacancy in the future. Big Blue has slowly but surely undergone renovations and the new apartments will reportedly be open for business later this year.
Downtown Wichita Falls has seen a resurgence in recent years after falling into serious decline beginning in the 1970’s as retail businesses such as McClurkan’s, and Sears moved to the city’s southwest side. Today, antique malls, apartments, restaurants, office space and coffee shops are bringing new life to downtown with more investment and growth likely over the next decade.
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