WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — You may be hearing quite the commotion in downtown Wichita Falls as progress is being made on “The Kate” apartments located in the old Petroleum Building.

“This was the most challenging project I have ever had to fund,” building owner, Will Kelty said.

When Kelty first came to Wichita Falls, he didn’t see eye sores, he saw potential.

“When I came to Wichita Falls seven years ago or so, I fell in love with the downtown area, but it was very vacant and so I’ve been sort of on a mission to help revitalize downtown,” Kelty said.

For four years, Kelty has been exploring every avenue he could in order to transform this roughly 70-year-old building into upscale apartments.
Once the final steps were complete, work began immediately.

“I’m hoping as part of our efforts to revitalize downtown that we can bring about another 170 people to live in this community and experience the downtown living,” Kelty said.

Construction began back in July in the building that will serve as upscale apartments, as well as student housing for those attending MSU Texas, a task that Kelty said isn’t easy.

“I’ve never had to jump through so many hoops. I really had to get creative on the financing, and this project would not have happened without a few key players jumping in at the right moments, and those players are with the City of Wichita Falls,” Kelty said.

Along with help from the Wichita Falls 4B Board and Texas Historical Commission, Kelty said once doors open, The Kate could be crucial to the growth of downtown Wichita Falls

“I fully believe that with a vibrant downtown, that’s going to benefit Wichita Falls in the long run. It’s going to encourage kids to come here to go to school. It’s going to encourage kids to stay here after school. It’s going to encourage other people to start businesses here,” Kelty said.

Which in turn should have a significant impact on our local economy as well.

Kelty said the student housing portion of The Kate, which will consist of floors two through five, is expected to open on or before July 12th of 2023. The apartment portion, which will be on floors six through ten, should open on or before April 1st of 2024.