Historic WF building becoming affordable senior housing

Historic WF building becoming affordable senior housing

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A historic building in downtown Wichita Falls is set to receive a $6 million makeover. It is making way for the building to eventually re-open as affordable housing for seniors.

On Tuesday city council will vote on putting $300,000 of 4B funds towards the work. In February the city showed their support of the project, helping make it a reality.

The action has created excitement in the air.

"If we have more affordable senior living, we will have more people down here to help out," Wichita Falls resident, Larry Cosby said. "It's just like community. We all work together."

Cosby is a regular at The Kitchen in Wichita Falls, a service that provides meals for senior citizens. He, along with others, believe there is a need for affordable senior living downtown.

"It is very important," resident Billie Boykin said.

Two blocks over is the old Maskat Shrine Temple. It's been vacant for years but will undergo a $6 million renovation and be re-purposed into 28 senior affordable living units and a small retail store.

"Certainly with affordable housing needs, this is just going to be incredible for the town," Developer, Andy Lee said.

Lee said senior living was something they wanted to do because it was identified as a need downtown.

Director of Marketing at The Kitchen, Pam Hughes, said it will make an incredible impact.

"So many of our seniors do struggle to be able to come up here," Hughes said. "They are physically able but sometimes their cars are old and it takes quite an effort to be here. And the idea that they won't have to travel as far is such a benefit."

Hughes said that generation has the sweetest, kindest, intelligent people and believes they deserve this.

"It's an honor to be here every day in their presence," she said. "And they encourage me to be a better version of myself. To remember what is truly valuable and important."

Four of the 28 units will be available to rent for anyone, regardless of age.

There is no timetable for when the one and two bedroom units will be complete, but construction is expected to take 15 months.

Hughes said senior citizens she talks to want to be part of the momentum downtown and believes this project is a great way to do that.

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