When real estate developer Jeff Sheu bought apartment 4C on the fourth floor of the Barley's building in the Arena District about two years ago, he said it was "stuck in the '90s." In his mind, there was nothing to do but strip it to the studs and renovate the entire thing.

When real estate developerJeff Sheu bought apartment 4C on the fourth floor of the Barley's building in the Arena District about two years ago, he said it was "stuck in the '90s." In his mind, there was nothing to do but strip it to the studs and renovate the entire thing.

The result is a sleek apartment fit for urban living. The gray concrete floors and high ceilings give the space an industrial feel, which is softened by more organic elements, such as the chalkboard wall in the kitchen and the beautiful, sealed-wood counter and copper sink in the master bath. The surprisingly roomy two-bedroom, two-and-half-bath condo also has a formal dining room, which means there's space to entertain.

But the renovation didn't strip all the history from the space-in fact, it revealed a piece of it. Underneath some plaster covering the brick wall in the living room, Sheu discovered a painted mural that once graced the outside of the building (it's now found on the interior thanks to a long-ago addition). The mural-a vintage advertisement that reads "Stewart Bros."-recalls an earlier era in Columbus.

The Barley's building is part of the North Market Historic District. In the early 20th century, this area was a retail hub, home to the original North End Market and the former Union Station. At the time, Columbus was home to a booming manufacturing industry, and people had more expendable income than ever before. That newfound wealth helped grow the plethora of shops found on High Street.

A 1913 city directory shows Stewart Bros. Furniture Co., with Peter W. Stewart as president and Robt. C. Stewart as vice president, located at 467-471 High Street selling "furniture, carpets, etc." A printed advertisement from 1909, meanwhile, boasts of the company's "good furniture at the right prices" with a rocking chair listed at the bargain price of $1.69.

A lot has changed since the 1900s. Stewart Bros. is long gone, and rocking chairs cost a lot more than $1.69. But this upscale apartment is in the middle of one of the city's hottest dining and retail areas. Sheu originally bought the property to flip and sell, but fell in the love with the area and moved in himself. His favorite part of living here? Walking across the street to shop at the North Market. The view of the market from the living room windows is yet another reminder of the area's rich history.