Having owned property in Dallas-Fort Worth for nearly 40 years, Jim Lake Companies adds a personal touch to each development it undertakes. Its head, Jim Lake, Jr., believes in family values—it was this commitment to virtue that led him to become a part of the company his father, Jim Lake, Sr., started. It’s also what drives him to think big picture rather than short-term profit.
“I worked construction on that development [in the Design District] in high school. It was my father’s,” Lake says. “It was redone for creative purposes. We let the market decide what it was going to be.”
Apart from the Design District, Jim Lake Companies has also been known for its involvement in Bishop Arts, having first purchased property there in 1985. Though the company has shifted into residential real estate in recent years, it still maintains a watchful eye on the gem that is one of its oldest developing areas.
“We held on to property there through the recessions—we were clear in that we didn’t want to gentrify it, but have individual proprietors define the area for themselves,” Lake says. “You can’t get what’s there anywhere else.”
Despite staying busy most of the time, Lake also stays devoted to his family life, having coached over 40 Little League teams while raising his children.
“Both [my sons are] grown now, but it was definitely something I enjoyed doing at that time,” he says. “It can teach you to manage people and is a good way to use that after-hours energy you sometimes have left over at the end of the day.”
Lake speaks highly of his father’s methods of doing things, describing him as a man who stuck to a proven way of doing things. Jim Lake Sr. brokered property in Bishop Arts through the lens of a real estate collector, investing his time in money in buildings with heritage and history behind them.
“He was a classic car collector, so it makes sense that he would love old buildings as well,” Lake says. “He wanted to go places others wouldn’t.”
Lake insists that he is in the service business, backing this assertion up through his actions. He cites the commitment and patience of his father as a motivation he holds in helping to build the Dallas community.
“Neither of us believed in the short term. I want to collaborate and work to develop the community,” he says. “Bishop Arts took a long time, but I’ve learned a lot from it.”