The Pontch Reopens as New Crowne Plaza Hotel

It’s been more than one year since Gabriel Ruiz, a developer and hotel investor based in Mexico, purchased Detroit’s historic Pontchartrain Hotel, affectionately referred to as “The Pontch” by Detroiters. Located at 2 Washington Boulevard on the former Fort Pontchartrain site—Detroit’s first permanent European settlement built in 1701—and across from the Cobo Center, the 25-story building designed in 1965 by King + Lewis Architects last operated as the Detroit Riverside Hotel.

It’s been more than one year since Gabriel Ruiz, a developer and hotel investor based in Mexico, purchased Detroit’s historic Pontchartrain Hotel, affectionately referred to as “The Pontch” by Detroiters. Located at 2 Washington Boulevard on the former Fort Pontchartrain site—Detroit’s first permanent European settlement built in 1701—and across from the Cobo Center, the 25-story building designed in 1965 by King + Lewis Architects last operated as the Detroit Riverside Hotel. It had been sitting vacant since July 2009, when the hotel closed and entered receivership.

Gabriel Ruiz and Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) teamed up to breathe new life into the 371-room facility and reopen it as the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Convention Center.

“We’re pleased to bring this Crowne Plaza hotel to the heart of Detroit, especially given the area’s current focus on revitalization,” said Gina LaBarre, vice president, Americas Brand Management, Upscale Brands, IHG, in a press statement. “Guests visiting the convention center next door as well as the many nearby businesses will benefit from the meetings-savvy products and services that only a Crowne Plaza hotel can provide.”

Remodeled under plans designed by Ohio-based Stephen Berry Architectural Design, the newly opened Crowne Plaza hotel is owned by Hotel Pontchartrain LLC and operated by Equity Hospitality Management. It now offers 367 guestrooms, of which more than 60 are suites, and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space including nine conference rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate over 350 people. The hotel also includes two restaurants, a lounge and an upscale café, as well as a full executive level floor with a separate lounge, concierge and valet parking services.

The Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Convention Center is just one example of Detroit’s hotel industry that’s looking up despite the city’s recent filing for bankruptcy. Quoting hotel industry tracking firm STR, USA Today reported that hotel occupancy rates in the Detroit metro area reached 61.3 percent at the end of Q2 2013 as compared to 47.5 percent in 2009.

Rendering via Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Convention Center’s Facebook Page