There are big changes in the Bibb City North Highland area and you can clearly see it if you travel the Second Avenue into and out of downtown Columbus.
There has been the major renovation of two buildings and the demolition of others as the area visible to 24,000 motorists a day enjoys a resurrection.
The most noticeable change is the demolition of multiple buildings on the northwest corner of Second Avenue and 38th Street.
This property was acquired by Columbus businessman and investor Brad Turner.
In June, the buildings were leveled. The old structures were in the shadow of historic Bibb Mill. Taking those old buildings down has paved the way for Mercy Med, a Columbus non-profit healthcare clinic to expand its farming operation.
Mercy Med has been growing fruits and vegetables, primarily on a small plot next to its Second Avenue Office.
Turner is going to allow Mercy Med to expand its growing operation on the newly vacant lot.
For Keith Sims, farmer and community health advocate, and his employer Mercy Med, access to the property is a Godsend.
“We are really excited to get some seasonal vegetables, the cabbage, collards, the corn, the kale, your traditional gardens,” Sims said.
It will mean more work — and more produce.
“We are actually tripling our garden space,” Sims said. “So we are going to be growing a lot more food, giving a lot of it away to our patients, selling it as we have been to the general public, We have been doing some work with SNAP education and we are still able to sell it half the price to anybody that comes with food stamps. We are excited to have more quantity of food and keep the same quality of food.”
While some buildings are gone, two more are getting a major face lift.
The sign outside says Skinner’s Furniture. But they are not selling sofas here any more.
The space has been redeveloped by Columbus investors Justin and Katie Krieg. What was once a thriving business is now offices and loft apartments.
W.C. Bradley Company has taken over the leasing and management of the building.
“Trying to renovate a building during a global pandemic isn’t the easiest thing,” Justin Krieg said. “But we have had a great team working on it. We have gotten to the end and we are excited to open up soon.”
There are 12 offices and six loft apartments in the two adjoined buildings.
Justin Krieg redeveloped a building across the street about six years ago with the builder Hal Averette, who has since passed away.
“This property came available and I saw it as a good opportunity to help bolster what I had going on over there,” Justin Krieg said. “And also bring something new and exciting to the area that didn’t already exist.”
And one of reasons to invest in the Second Avenue corridor — that includes Bibb City on the river side and North Highland to the east — is the momentum.
“There is a lot of good momentum in the area. Olivia Amos at the Food Mill is doing some great things with her restaurant,” Krieg said. “Obviously, Mercy Med has had a longtime presence in the neighborhood. With Truth Spring Academy and Highland Church — Rob and Carrie Strickland — have been doing some amazing work in the neighborhood there, There are just a lot of positive things, a lot of really hard-working people looking to make the quality of life improvements from the residents in this neighborhood.”