Withee Malcolm’s adaptive reuse of The Dunbar Hotel has won wide acclaim for the revitalization of the historic property. The Dunbar Hotel was once the focal point of the Central Avenue African-American community in Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s for notables who visited, performed or stayed at the hotel. Now called Dunbar Village, the project includes the complete renovation of the Dunbar Hotel and the Somerville Apartments I and II. All three properties have joined to create an 83-unit mixed-use project. Preserving Dunbar Hotel’s historic brick facade, the new design provides 41 residential units of affordable senior housing.
Over the years, the Dunbar had suffered serious neglect following several ill-conceived renovations, including the installation of a cover over the large central atrium, an important feature of the original art deco design. The new design reopens the atrium and introduces a glass roof, which creates an inviting gathering place for residents and space for a public restaurant.