History: Boarded-up on Bishop

Jim Lake Cos. bought up several blocks in the Bishop Arts District in 1985
1985 photo of Bishop Arts District
1985 photo courtesy of Jim Lake Cos.
2013 view of Bishop Arts District
2013 photo by Danny Fulgencio

Jim Lake Cos. bought up several blocks in the Bishop Arts District in 1985. Jim Lake Jr. brokered the deal for his dad, Jim Lake Sr., whose vision was to redevelop it with son Richard Lake and business partner Mike Morgan. “It was a horrible time to do it because in 1986 is when the real estate depression started, and we were trying to drag people kicking and screaming across the river just to look at space,” the younger Jim Lake says.

Bishop Arts had a few tenants when Lake bought it, including Goodier Cosmetics, a back rehab place, a travel agent and artist Stuart Kraft. “It was a very difficult time,” Lake says. “We almost lost it back in 1989. We were struggling to get people over there and just to keep them paying rent. I got involved in the ownership in ’89, got some capital, and saved it from going back to the bank, basically.” Lake says the company “toughed it through” most of the ’90s. Oline’s hair salon was one of the first tenants to sign on with Jim Lake Cos. in the district. Tillman’s Corner, the earlier incarnation of Tillman’s, opened in 1992. A turning point for the district came in 1998 when City Council, led by then-mayor Laura Miller, allocated $2.6 million to upgrades that included wider sidewalks, brick pavers, street lights and trees. The district also was rezoned that year to reduce the parking requirements, which allowed for more restaurants to open. “We’ve had some hits and misses, but we’ve paid attention to having the correct mix of sole proprietorships that work well together,” he says. Lake’s next big Oak Cliff redevelopment is the Jefferson Tower office building and adjoining retail in the 300 block of West Jefferson. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s unlikely to take 13 years to be transformed. Lake already is working with the city and Jefferson stakeholders to rezone the area. And the city has approved a $1.5-million economic development grant for the project, which will be given once Lake spends $6 million on renovations.


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  • Smokey

    It is amazing to me how Jennie’s Bishop Grill is left out of discussions of this area. They carried Bishop before Bishop was cool. My family used Goodier on Bishop as a supplier for many years as Beauticontrol Cosmetics original facility was located in Oak Cliff in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. An area like this is only as successful as it’s merchants and people comprise its synergies. Many have come and gone, since the day when deals were made on rent. Bishop is still a tough place to make a living. Bless those that have made it and a special blessing to those that couldn’t. ..

  • Good Space, Inc.

    That we’re aware of, Good Space is the only recipient of historic-preservation tax credits (alluded to by Amonett) in Bishop Arts (for 408 W. 8th St.).  And, in fact, with the IRS’s limitations of the Alternative Minimum Tax, the dollar-value of the credits was insignificant, as our CPA warned:  BAD-sized projects are too small and property owners’ tax liabilities not big enough to make that paperwork-strewn path worth it.  Nor is the survival BAD’s building stock owing to any protections within Conservation District #7.  You may demolish or renovate any historic building as you wish; you just can’t paint it black or fluorescent.  In other words, BAD’s historic designation has advertising value – which is real value – but it is simply market forces and relaxed parking requirements that have “saved” the district.  Orthodox historic preservationists shouldn’t be deflated by this news.  The patron saint of New Urbanism Jane Jacobs devoted a whole chapter in The Death & Life of Great American Cities to the hard-nosed economics that favor keeping “aged buildings” (her term).  Preservationists and city planners can best help the cause of cool, old buildings by liberating them from suburban-style land-use laws.  CD 7, followed by PD 830, is an excellent example of that.

  • Monica

     We have the original version of the historic, top picture if you’re interested in using it — you can email me mdiodati@jimlakeco.com! Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the bottom image.

  • MichaelAmonett

    One of the first things that happened in Bishop Arts was that it was made a Conservation District and most all the structures were placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  Structures on this list that are used for commercial uses qualify for significant tax breaks at the Federal level.    Most all of the buildings in Bishop Arts took advantage of these tax breaks in their rehabilitation to become what you see today.  Old buildings need these kind of financial incentives or often get torn down.  

    I hope that Jefferson gets the same treatment because it deserves it and the buildings need it.  The street is the longest stretch of commercial historic buildings in the Southwest.  I hope I hear more about historic preservation where Jefferson is concerned and I hope everyone insists on it.  It is one of our greatest historic resources.  

  • Renee

     These are most likey owned by the photographer, which for you to legally copy means contacting the photographer. Make sure they get paid for their work.

  • Gary Burns

    It was the residential neighborhood groups that made this happen. We spent years with the City Planning Department coming up with the Bishop Davis Plan. Then several years, with the assistance of Laura Miller to get it funded. We are all proud of the work done.

  • Brucerhorton

    Some have Vision,  Most Don’t

  • MendozaCentral

    Couldnt have done it without Elba Garcia who got us the money to invest in infrastructure and helped lead the zoning changes!  

  • Bobandmaryyates

    It’s amazing how this area has developed. We love going there.

  • Chris

    Anyone have these images @ a higher resolution?