An $800,000 expenditure could help transform an eyesore in downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, into housing for Midwestern State University students.
The Wichita Falls Times Record News reports that the city's 4B Sales Tax Corporation Board of Directors approved a loan of up to $800,000 toward a fire suppression/alarm system for the Petroleum Building, a former hotel and office building.
Developer Will Kelty purchased the building in 2016 with a plan to turn it into much-needed housing.
In a presentation to the Sales Tax Corporation Board, Kelty said he would like to use the upper floors (two through nine) of the building for housing for Midwestern State University students and other residents. University representatives toured the facility earlier in the year and found the idea viable. If approved, housing could be available as soon as the summer 2018.
Kelty says downtown housing encourages integration of college students into the area and could aid in their decision to stay in Wichita Falls after college. The arrangement benefits Midwestern State by providing housing space not possible on the land-locked campus.
Turning the building into residential space has estimated price tag of $8.8 million.
Kelty expects the project to be completed in two phases. The first phase would be installation of a fire-suppression system, renovation of floors two through five and an upgrade of the outdoor swimming pool. The second phase will renovate 60 units on floors six through 10.