Downtown WF projects mean more business for contractors

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Two housing projects in downtown Wichita Falls are progressing.

They are just two of a handful of downtown projects the last two years, and local contractors are benefiting.

More projects mean more jobs and business for those contracting companies.

President of Brain's Plumbing, Brian Walser, said they are so busy with projects they turned down the opportunity to do plumbing for one of those housing projects.

Projects to bring 30 apartments above 8th Street Coffee House and 110 dorm rooms for students above The Highlander Public House are beginning to take shape.

The project in the old City Center building has made the most progress.

"Right now we're doing the electrical, the plumbing, and have started on the floors," Owner of both buildings, Will Kelty said. "We're trying to restore all the floors."

You won't find as many crews in the old Petroleum building.

"The funding has been the challenge up to this point," Kelty said. "Finding banks and lending institutions that are willing to invest in Wichita Falls."

Kelty is now hoping to complete the project in the City Center building by the end of 2018 and the project in the Petroleum building by spring of 2019.

Walser said there have been lots of downtown projects and they've been a part of a lot of them.

They did the plumbing at Half Pint, Karat Bar and Bistro, Wichita Falls Brewing Company, and The Yard just to name a few.

"We've had several big jobs downtown," Walser said. "Wichita Falls has always got a large population of plumbers and electricians. Evidently, there are enough jobs to keep everybody busy."

Walser and Kelty said the end goal is to create a better downtown.

Kelty said last weekend he overheard a couple from out of town at 8th Street Coffee House talking about the district's potential.

"She said wow. This coffee house is really cool," Kelty said. "And his response was you know what, I can see the potential of this town. I thought it was really insightful and really cool. I believe in the potential of this town and think we're well on the path of getting there and I'm looking forward to seeing it continue."

Kelty said the entire community benefits from these projects and added those contractors are also eating in the restaurants throughout downtown and spending their money.

Brian Walser said downtown is much different now than five or ten years ago.

So many people want to live in the area there is already a 15 person deep waiting list for the new apartments above 8th Street Coffee House.

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