Oak Cliff Tower sale could push Jefferson Boulevard transformation

Fewer cars, improved landscaping and a wider median with a marketplace inspired by Las Ramblas in Barcelona. All that could become more than just an urban planner’s daydream for Jefferson Boulevard, and it could start happening soon.

The Dallas Morning News City Hall Blog reports that Jim Lake Jr.”is preparing to buy” the Jefferson Tower office building and connecting retail in the 300 block of West Jefferson with plans to renovate it.

And City Council member Delia Jasso, a champion for the revitalization of Jefferson, is working with City Design Studio in preliminary plans for the widened median, which include removing curbs, adding concrete pavers and taking Jefferson down to one lane of car traffic each way. They’re also working on a safer, pedestrian friendly connection from Jefferson to Davis on Bishop.

That work would be paid for with $1.47 million in bond borrowing approved in the November election.

Jim Lake Cos. redeveloped the Bishop Arts District, starting in 1985, with Jim Lake Sr. and Mike Morgan in the lead.

Next generation, Next boulevard. “This could kick start redevelopment all along Jefferson Boulevard,” Lake told the News.

And here’s what else:

“It’s going to be a cultural experience much different than Bishop Arts,” Lake said of Jefferson Boulevard. “We’re going to cater to the Hispanic market.

“And we want to brand it with its own identity,” he said.

The city is considering giving the Jefferson Tower project, more details of which are here, a $1.5 million economic development grant for the project.

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  • Jimlake
  • AG

    I drive Jefferson all the time. Not to get from Point A to Point B…but to spend my money there. Gonzalez, Mesa, The Texas, etc. Jefferson is easily walkable right now. Most people don’t because they don’t care for what they see when they do. Limiting vehicle access isn’t going to change that.

  • OakCliffClavin

    I don’t use Jefferson for much at all during the day, but if you’ve been by there you’d notice that it’s a madhouse until 7-8pm. 12th is a great bypass to avoid this, true, but not for those who are actually going to the many businesses up and down Jefferson during the day. And since these people are the “Hispanic market” that is being “catered to” I’m sure they’d rather have the lanes than some lofts they won’t be able to afford to live in anyway.
    Don’t misunderstand me, I go to Mesa and the Texas regularly, and ride my bike to get there. I’m cautiously excited to see this plan happen, I just hope that thought is actually put into those who live near and utilize the area rather than the over-the-bridgers who will eventually get bored with it and stop coming once some other part of Dallas is hip.

  • oc_dweller

    12th is a fantastic bypass option for trying to get to Hampton or just about anywhere west of BAD because like Rachel pointed out you learn when to avoid it. Same unfortunately for Davis. My frustration lies with the removal or wanting to remove lanes for trying to get into or out of north OC. Despite my negative tone I am very hopeful for Jefferson as I really do hope the days are numbered for neon, checks cashed and pawn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yourethejournal Rachel Stone

    We have an abundance of roadway in Dallas, why not let pedestrians have some of it? Jefferson already is hard to navigate, with all the meter parking and lack of left-turn lanes. I avoid it during the daytime because of that. At nighttime, it’s a ghost town, which makes for fun bike riding, but it’s kind of a shame.

  • Robert B

    Those complaining about losing lanes: do you actually use Jefferson as your primary route from Point A to Point B? It only takes a quick look at a map to see that 12th Street was specifically designed as a Jefferson Street Bypass. The city needs to fix the terrible intersection at the west end of the bypass segment, but then 12th Street will be fully functional. Jefferson will blossom as a walkable area with limited vehicle access… and that’s something that benefits everyone, not just hipsters.

  • oc_dweller

    No logical thought is given to traffic flow whether it be Jefferson, the eventual closing of 4 lanes on the Houston viaduct and now the potential removal of 2 lanes on Sylvan these “urban planners” only see the hip and trendy that they want to implement.

  • OakCliffClavin

    This was my thought also. I’d love to see this happen but have serious reservations about how this would work given the traffic load.

  • Ag

    One lane of traffic each way? Have they gone insane or do they just not drive Jefferson very often? However, I would be very pleased to see real progress towards the renovation and restoration of Jefferson, including preservation of historical facades.

  • http://twitter.com/sohereweare MICHAEL SHADDOX

    I think it’s a great idea! Las Ramblas in Barcelona is a great tourist draw in Spain and would give the ever-growing, ever-evolving Hispanic population here in the metroplex an area of town they, and the whole city can be proud of.

    Maybe they could name sections of it after famous artists like Miguel Cabrera or Frida Kahlo.

    Another great potential draw would be the traditional festivals it could bring, like Lunes del Cerro, celebrated the last two Mondays of July or the annual Dia de los Muertos, celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd.

    We are a city of cultures with great heritages and great histories, and the ability to collaborate and value each others differences would set an example for the whole country.