In 1929, the Brinkerhoff & Bennett Investment built what they dubbed the Medical-Dental Building of Oak Cliff, on a block of Jefferson Boulevard between Madison and Bishop streets. In short order, the block would become home to a Sears Roebuck & Company, a piano store, men and women’s fashions, and more.
If you walk through the building today, you’ll see old hints of its past including medical motifs in the lobby, vintage elevator switches, and an electrical room in the basement with dusty fuses and old gauges that appear to be frozen in time.
After eight decades, the block had seen its share of tenants and property owners come and go, but sadly, with time, much of its ground floor had been vacant and its large storefront windows covered by bars or filled in with bricks. Fortunately, earlier this year the historic building found a new lease on life as the Jim Lake Companies officially took ownership of the property. For those unfamiliar with the company, Jim Lake senior was the visionary behind the revitalization of an old streetcar stop that would later be dubbed the “Bishop Arts District”. Fast forward thirty years later, and Jim Lake, jr. is now at the helm and has plans to re-open those shuttered windows, and bring a new energy to the block. Plans include making the bookend buildings live/work spaces, while working with the city to create a more inviting sidewalk complete with benches, new street trees, lighting, a bike rental station, and outdoor cafe seating.
According to Mr. Lake, calls have been pouring in from prospective tenants about available spaces, with one of the earliest leasees being a group of local craft beer connoisseurs who are opening Oak Cliff’s first brewpub called Small Brewery later this year. For those curious to try their beers before the grand opening, head out this Friday, June 7th during the Oak Cliff Film Fest. The group intends to launch a pop-up during the event to give everyone a taste of their offerings.
For more information on the Jefferson Tower, visit their website at www.jefferson-tower.com. Also, check out the video below to see a rendering of the new amenities planned for the ground floor.