photo 1-1New restaurant and retail spaces are coming to Jefferson Boulevard, and they could be open as soon as a year from now. Jim Lake Cos. unveiled animated renderings of the company’s dream for Jefferson Tuesday.

The company bought Jefferson Tower and adjoining retail space in January. Lake’s vision includes some things that are still up in the air, such as a streetcar line down the boulevard. But it shows the developer’s ideas for street-level retail, restaurants and entertainment venues. Plans also call for residential lofts above the retail spaces. Construction is to begin in July, and the project should be completed by April 2014, Jim Lake Jr. says.

This rendering is by Good Fulton & Farrell Architects.

Lake, Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Councilwoman Delia Jasso spoke Tuesday inside the space at Jefferson and Madison. Efforts to improve Jefferson are in line with Rawlings’ Grow South initiative, which encourages the public sector to invest in southern Dallas.

Jasso has helped designate $4 million from a 2012 bond package to improve Bishop from Eighth to Jefferson. She also is working to create a $1.4-million plaza in the boulevard’s center, inspired by Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

333 W. Jefferson, before

333 W. Jefferson, before

Barak Epstein of the Texas Theatre and the Oak Cliff Film Festival has revitalized the Jefferson Boulevard Alliance, which recently incorporated officially, to bring business owners together.  Lina T. Ramey & Associates, an engineering firm, gave $50,000 to the alliance to hire a part-time community police officer for Jefferson Boulevard. Ramey says she is planning to relocate her firm to Oak Cliff, and she called on her peers to support Grow South.

“I hope this will challenge and motivate other engineering firms to donate to southern Dallas,” she said.

The mayor says he expects the entire Jefferson Boulevard transformation, including a streetcar and unity among building owners, to take about 10 years.