Walter Alan Chance is a builder and developer that moved to Kenedy this past January, and purchased a permanent Kenedy home in March. Chance founded his home-building company, Walter Alan Homes, Inc., almost eleven years ago and says he wanted to bring his experience and know-how to meet the growing residential and business needs of the Kenedy community.
“I’ve been welcomed by everyone,” said Chance of his newfound home community. “All the local people have been extremely nice to me. I like the people here. They’re down to earth; there’s no facade.”
Born and raised in Houston, where both his father and grandfather were in the oil business, Chance spent much of his boyhood in the Boy Scouts, where he eventually achieved the prestigious and highest level of Eagle Scout. Chance says that his experience as an Eagle Scout instilled a deep sense of community service and integrity from a young age.
Chance attended Southwest Texas State University (known now as Texas State University) in San Marcos and earned his degree in Business Administration. After obtaining his degree, he became a part of the real estate profession as a realtor, and then eventually becoming a home builder.
Chance immediately became deeply involved in the Kenedy community through building relationships by getting to know the people and businesses of the city. Chance was elected to the board of the Kenedy Chamber of Commerce in March, and is also a member of the Kenedy Rotary Club.
In Kenedy, Chance has already built two single family homes on Sixth Street, two home additions, and is currently working on building three duplexes. Plans are also underway to start building two more single family homes by the end of the year.
Chance plans to expand the housing market in the city by giving a top quality product that’s built with integrity and with respect and care to the customer.
“It’s all about the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” relates Chance. “You don’t want to forget about your customers after they move in. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you. I’ve had people already send me business. In fact, I have more business than I can handle right now. If you establish yourself as a credible, honest businessman, the word will get out. It’s gotten out a lot faster than I expected.”
The Eagle Ford Shale has had the greatest and most massive impact on the Kenedy housing market, according to Chance.
“The housing market is constantly changing; the demand is constantly changing. I have to be in tune to what’s going on. Right now there seems to be a trend where companies want more permanent housing for their employees. They want to get away from man-camps, RV parks, trailers, and so forth. It’s a lifestyle they don’t enjoy because they can’t bring their families here, and so they have a high turnover rate of employees, which costs them lots of money and also talent. The trend right now is to get more permanent housing, because that’s what’s going to be needed long term.
“We’d like to revitalize Kenedy and meet the needs of the energy companies and the local residents. We’re working with the city to try to figure out how to help the local residents because rents have gone sky high here, and some residents are being kicked out of the homes they’ve been leasing for years. We’re trying to address that in a reasonable manner. We’re trying to look at the whole picture.”
Chance teamed up with like-minded business partners and purchased the Stimson building at 322 West Main, as well as the old Rialto Theater next door. The vision was to create new areas of residence and business within its walls to meet the growing need of people and businesses coming to the city. The idea was to be done in three phases, according to Chance.
“Phase one was to turn it into office space on the downstairs, with four retail centers in the front, and that’s just what we’ve done,” explained Chance. “We completely gutted the (Stimson) building from the upstairs to the downstairs and started with all new wiring, all new plumbing, all new glass frontage, all new stucco. It’s a very large building, over 20,000 square feet. Phase one was to get the downstairs renovated and leased out and now we’re almost finished with phase one. In fact, we’re already in the midst of phase two.
The downstairs area is now home to JM Cleaners, Farmers Insurance, Carabin and Shaw Law Firm, Maloney Law Firm, Steven Paulsgrove Law Firm (opening Nov. 1), Walter Alan Homes, Inc., Oppenheimer Funds, and a florist.
Chance goes on to explain the goals for phase two of the former Stimson building, as well as the phase three transformation of the Rialto Theater into the purpose of business and residential usage:
“Phase two is to build 17 upscale apartment homes on the second level of the building, and we’re going to be calling those the ‘Kenedy Lofts’. They will be similar to what you find in big cities. They will be apartment homes with full kitchens, granite countertop…really nice stuff. The Kenedy Lofts are planned to open in March, and then it‘s on to phase three.”
“Phase three is we’ve purchased the Rialto. The building itself was in very poor condition, but the main structure - the walls and so forth - are reusable. Our plan for phase three is to add a sub-floor, and put additional apartments on the upstairs and more retail on the downstairs.”
Chance says that one of his greatest joys in his line of work is when strangers come up to him and give him compliments regarding the quality of his work.
“We look at this not as a short term, get rich scheme,” he says. “We look at it as a long term community member. If we were a step above and took our time and did the right stuff, treated people right and so forth, then the people will choose us over the other products that are out there.
“The people here in Kenedy are genuine, honest, hard-working, friendly and they want to make you feel welcome. It’s really nice to be around people you know and can trust.”