When Jim Lake Jr. announced his plan to renovate Oak Cliff’s Jefferson Tower in late 2012, the neighborhood reaction was swift and pointed. Gentrification was the bugbear, as development had begun to push south from Bishop Arts (which Lake and his father also helped bring back to life). But in the intervening years, Lake has beat back the critics, and he’s on the cusp of creating a new hub of shopping and dining in Oak Cliff. “What we do is provide a template for the creative folks to come and do what they do,” Lake says. “We appreciate historic buildings and the history. When we come into an area, we want to positively impact the neighborhood.” He sent intern and Oak Cliff native Adan Gonzalez into the community to find out what people wanted in the project. The result? A 7,000-square-foot mercado space for local artists and merchants to sell handmade goods. Lake also renewed the leases of the beloved Gonzalez restaurant and Ramon’s Barber Shop, while bringing in Small Brewpub, Cultivar Coffee, and other shops to fill the 86-year-old spaces once occupied by Sears, Roebuck & Co.; a piano shop; and clothing stores. “More activity for us means more activity for everyone on Jefferson,” Lake says.