By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
Gabriel Ruiz, a Mexico-based developer and hotel investor, has purchased the Pontchartrain Hotel located at 2 Washington Blvd., across the street from Cobo Center and 150 West Jefferson. Though the sale price is still unknown, an attorney involved in the deal told The Detroit News that the new owner plans to renovate the 25-story luxury building as a new Crowne Plaza hotel.
The black-glass and steel structure was designed in 1965 by architecture firm King & Lewis on the former Fort Pontchartrain site (later known as Fort Detroit), the first permanent European settlement established in Detroit, built in 1701. After changing names and owners several times, in recent years it operated as the Crowne Plaza Detroit Pontchartrain. Boca Raton, Fla.-based Shubh Hotels LLC purchased the hotel in 2006 and started a $35 million renovation and upgrading process which included a new health and fitness complex featuring a new indoor pool. The hotel reopened as the 367-room Sheraton Detroit Riverside but, in less than one year, due to poor management, the Sheraton branding was removed and the facility got a new name—the Detroit Riverside Hotel—only to be shuttered and foreclosed on in July 2009. It was then purchased by Texas-based United Central Bank.
According to The Detroit News, the planned Crowne Plaza would be the second luxury hotel currently planned for Downtown Detroit and it could revitalize the area’s hotel industry with its projected 413 guest rooms. The property would be managed by Crown Plaza Hotels & Resorts via its Holiday Inn reservation system.
Photo: Wikimedia, author Benlmoyer