Big Blue Undergoing Renovations to Attract Tenants

- Work is underway to revitalize the most recognizable building in Downtown Wichita Falls. Financial problems forced the First Wichita Building's owner to close it last August. But then, after a new owner bought it last month, repairs are being done now to try and reel in tenants.

The office space in Big Blue doesn't need much attention. And the leasing manager says the plumbing and electrical systems work fine.

But the biggest repairs needed in the 12 story historic building is get the elevators and the cooling systems back up and running properly.

On the outside of the First Wichita Building, also known as Big Blue, a sign says this historic structure is back. While inside work is underway to do just that.

A cleaning crew is sprucing up office space, which has sat empty since last August. While the leasing manager is busy making repairs to get these rooms filled.

One big repair is to find the necessary parts to get the elevator operating again. But there's another repair that's also important-- the building's cooling system.

The leasing manager says it still works.

"But it costs about $15,000 a month in electricity," says Sean Kriger, leasing manager for Big Blue.

So, leasing manager, Sean Kriger, says they're looking for something that's more modern and efficient.

"We are currently figuring out how to put in a brand new HVAC system.  That's a new chiller, a new boiler and a new chiller tower potentially to heat and cool the building," Kriger explains.

Although these two major repairs are still underway Kriger says he's currently showing office space to potential tenants.

"Our hope is to bring back the building itself, not just replace everything that's in it and fix it up, but to really bring it back to the height of its glory," adds Kriger.

Kriger says the plan is to first lease the basement and first three floors of Big Blue so owners can get money coming in to make other repairs, like replacing the 300 lights on the electronic time and temperature sign.

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