Press and Media

Developer Revitalizes Historic BullStreet Building

Originally published July 27, 2016 at


The eye sore of vacant buildings and old property in Columbia’s Bull Street Area will soon be gone with the addition of shops, stores and office buildings.

Will Batson of Diversified Development is excited to renovate a historic building in the Bull Street area and make it his company’s new home.

The development company bought the Parker Annex building and started redeveloping the top floor into an office space last fall.

“It’s a building that’s got a lot of local and state history it’s a part of the Parker Annex building which was the African American mental health facility here on the campus,” the chief development officer said.

The building was built in 1916 and 100 years later it’s getting a face lift but the company is keeping the walls, the paint, refurbishing the windows, renovating the roof and keeping the exterior exactly the same.

“This building was one of the buildings slated to be torn down and we stepped in and decided that it was of historical importance to us, and so we kept it,” Batson said. “We wanted to save the history and keep that sense of place, as well as bring in some modern features to the office to make it fun and exciting place to work.”

Robin Waites, the executive director of Historic Columbia says she is excited that they were able to help.

“Any time when you’re rehabilitating a structure that has some historic integrity as much as you can preserve of that original integrity helps to really I think tell the story of the building but at the same time you can put it to a new use,” Waites said.

The building hasn’t been used in decades but Batson hopes this will influence others to bring life to the area.

“We hope that other businesses in the community will follow our lead and come over to Bull Street and help make a great sense of place here in downtown Columbia,” Batson said.

Diversified Development plans to move into their new office space in the Parker Annex building in October.

They are the first Columbia-based real estate developer to renovate one of the historic buildings on the Bull Street campus.

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