WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — An iconic building in downtown Wichita Falls designated as a historical landmark has been sold after an auction in August 2023 transferred the property from the local newspaper that once called it home.
Times Square has long been a staple of downtown Wichita Falls, and for the first time in nearly six decades, the more than 70,000-square-foot complex has a new owner.
Denny Bishop, founder of the Bishop Realtor Group, said the building’s owner hired his company to be the facilitator of the auction of this historic building, and now that it has a new owner, he’s excited to see a historic building get a new lease on life.
“Gary has been a local investor for quite a while and puts his time and money into this community and I think that was important,” Bishop said. “This building is a historically significant location. It’s great for it to stay local.
Maria Maloney, one of the realtors who worked to secure the sale of Times Square, couldn’t agree more.
“The winner of the bid is local and that’s great because he is investing his dollars in his local community,” Maloney said. “I really am truly happy that it went to a local buyer.”
Maloney said she and the rest of the Bishop Realtor Group are excited the longtime home of Times Record News is now in the hands of local investor Gary Mehan, owner of G.M. Properties.
“We actually invest a lot in Wichita Falls in commercial real estate,” Mehan said. “We lease to large companies from Goodyear to Owens Corning. We brought in several companies from out of town, like California Bowling.”
But the purchase of Times Square marks a first for Mehan, something he hasn’t done since he started in commercial real estate in 1978.
“This is our first exploration in the downtown area,” Mehan said. “We’ve kind of stayed out of it and now we’re going to be looking to do more here.”
A bit of a history buff himself, perhaps no one understands the significance of this iconic downtown building like Mehan.
“It not only created its own history, it reported history,” Mehan said. “It’s kind of neat.”
It’s no exaggeration to say the Times Record News is as embedded in Texoma’s DNA as the likes of brothers-in-law Joseph Kemp and Frank Kell, two of Wichita Falls’ great early leaders and the namesake of the two busiest streets in the city.
In fact, Kemp and Kell were among the first investors in a local newspaper when the Wichita Daily Times was founded in 1907, each fronting $1,500 out of their own pockets for the Times, which would equate to nearly $50,000 in 2023 due to inflation.
“This was the newspaper in Wichita Falls for many, many years,” Bishop said.
Even when television came to town almost half a century after newspapers, the Times continued to keep the community informed, eventually outgrowing its original space.
So, in 1964, the paper moved to what we now know as Times Square, a concrete building taking up an entire block and built around a massive printing press.
The three-story press hasn’t been operated in years, but the giant machines that have sat in silence were once roaring day in and day out, printing the paper for the people of Wichita Falls.
The newsroom and offices may be vacant now, but for decades, the building was constantly buzzing with photographers, reporters, editors, and columnists, working hard to give their community its news.
“We used to come down here when it was full of people and just a lot going on,” Bishop said.
The value of Times Square to the Wichita Falls community isn’t just in the building, but in the community leaders this structure built.
“Ted Buss was the sports editor, and Lee Anderson was here and Darrell Coleman was here,” Bishop said. “I mean, we could go on and on about the people who had a significant role in our community who worked here in this building.”
Even as Times Square sits empty and awaiting a new tenant, the building is alive with the history of our city, a time capsule containing over a century of records and news from Texoma.
Mehan said he’s eager to get to work and bring a tenant to Times Square, bringing along with them a shot in the arm to downtown Wichita Falls as it continues to develop. He said a new tenant will bring new jobs to the area, even if he’s not quite sure yet what those jobs will be.
“It could be anybody, anything,” Mehan said. “We are already exploring avenues with a couple of tenants right now.”
With some of the possibilities Mehan is considering, he very well could be bringing new life and new faces to downtown Wichita Falls, honoring the past of a historical landmark while looking to the future of the development of Wichita Falls.
“It was an honor and a privilege for the Bishop Realtor Group to be a part of this historic landmark sale,” Maloney said.
Mehan said he hasn’t made a decision on who will occupy the space just yet but there is one thing he’s entirely sure about. When asked if he plans to keep the iconic name for the building, Times Square, Mehan responded, “You bet I am… I think it is perfect.”
This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.