With all the construction around Borderstan lately, it’s sometimes easy to forget that every house, parking lot and retail store had a previous life, if not several. DCmud has a great blog post recounting the history of the parking lot of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments at 2001 15th Street NW. The buildings were formerly Campbell Heights Apartments (until recently), before that they were called the Portner Flats (a luxury apartment building) and before that the Dunbar Hotel.
The Dunbar Hotel was the elite black hotel (when Washington was very much segregated) in the heydeys of U Street’s jazz scene and Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr. and other performers were regular guests. The space will begin a new life as the Jair Lynch apartment project at 15th and V Streets NW after much redesign and consternation.
Tom Hay reported back in July about the project. Jair Lynch Development Partners, headquartered at 1508 U Street, worked with the residents association of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments to recapitalize and renovate the 171 unit building. The deal preserves its status as affordable housing for senior citizens under a covenant which will last for 30 years.
Going up just north of the current senior citizen apartments is a 95-unit rental building by Jair Lynch; DCMud has a great rendering of the building.