Columbus Council recently approved the rezoning of a 114-year-old building downtown. That paves the way for a Columbus developer to turn it into apartments.
But 1147 Sixth Avenue is more than an old building, it is a link to the city’s historic past with Coca-Cola.
New owner Ken Henson gave News 3 an exclusive look inside the building Wednesday afternoon.
In 1905, it was built as the original Coca-Cola Bottling facility in Columbus. Owner Columbus Roberts – that was his name – bottled, stored and sold Coca-Cola out of this three-story brick building.
It was the home of Coca-Cola up until the early 1940s. Most recently, it was a storage facility for TSYS. Henson purchased it a few months ago from TSYS.
The timing is perfect. He plans to turn the building into apartments and potentially some office space. The building is less than a minute walk from the 11th Street building where Mercer University will put a downtown Columbus medical school.
Henson is applying for federal historic tax credits to assist with the project. He hopes to have the project complete by the end of next year.
Henson has been struck by the building’s history and character.
“I was interested in this because I was interested in putting some apartments in downtown,” Henson said.”Then I learned it was the original Coca-Cola building, I went on line and found all of these old, incredible photographs that showed you what it looked like a hundred years ago. Then I came inside and saw what you see up here.”
Ask Henson how many cases of Coca-Cola have moved through the warehouse and he just laughs.
“Ooh, a lot,” he said.