Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront

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Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront
General information
Location Detroit, Michigan
Address 2 Washington Blvd
Coordinates 42°19′41″N 83°02′51″W / 42.328°N 83.0476°W / 42.328; -83.0476Coordinates: 42°19′41″N 83°02′51″W / 42.328°N 83.0476°W / 42.328; -83.0476
Opening July 24, 1965
Owner Gabriel Ruiz
Management InterContinental Hotels Group
Height 75 m (246 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 25
Design and construction
Architect King & Lewis
Other information
Number of rooms 367
Official website

The Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront, is a 367-room, 25-story high-rise hotel opened in 1965 adjacent to Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan.


The Plaza Land Company was established in 1955 to construct a modern hotel on a site adjacent to the planned Convention Hall and Exhibits Building. In 1956 they announced plans to partner with Conrad Hilton on a $24 million hotel, to be named the Pontchartrain Hilton. However the board of Hilton Hotels refused to ratify the deal in 1960, and the Plaza Land Company turned to Samuel and Aaron Gershenson's Downtown Investment Company, which took over the project.[1]

King & Lewis designed the Hotel Pontchartrain in the modern architectural style, with contemporary French interiors, and employing angular bay windows in its design, which provides every room with views of the International Riverfront. The Pontchartrain was originally intended to have a twin tower, on the other side of the plot, but it was never built. The Hotel Pontchartrain was dedicated on July 24, 1965, the 264th anniversary of the founding of Detroit.[1] It was built on the site of Fort Pontchartrain, Detroit's first permanent European settlement, built in 1701, which later became known as Fort Detroit.[2] The hotel is named for the fort and for an earlier Hotel Pontchartrain, which was located on Cadillac Square at Woodward Avenue, before it was demolished in 1920.[3]

George H.W. Bush stayed at the hotel during the 1980 Republican National Convention. In 1985, the Hotel Pontchartrain was purchased by Crescent Hotel Group, a subsidiary of Lincoln Savings & Loan for $19.5 million. Lincoln S&L Chairman Charles Keating soon thereafter arranged to buy the hotel outright from the company and set up the Hotel Pontchartrain LP, controlled by Keating, his family, and executive contacts. The sale was financed by a series of ethically questionable loans from Lincoln and its subsidiaries and totaled $38 million.[4] This arrangement was later cited by Sen. Donald W. Riegle (D-MI) as his basis for considering Keating a constituent during his involvement in the Keating Five scandal.[5]

On March 30, 2001, it reopened as the Crowne Plaza Detroit Pontchartrain, following a major renovation.[6] In 2006, Shubh LLC purchased the hotel and it underwent a $35 million renovation, reopening as the Sheraton Detroit Riverside in November, 2007.[7] Within a year, however, the hotel had its Sheraton branding taken away due to poor management and was renamed the Detroit Riverside Hotel. On June 26, 2009, the Wayne County Circuit Court appointed David Findling of The Findling Law Firm, PLC, as receiver of the hotel.[8] The hotel was formally shuttered in August 2009.[9] United Central Bank of Garland, Texas, subsequently acquired the bank that brought the foreclosure action, Mutual Bank, after it was deemed insolvent by the Illinois Department of Financial Professional Regulation’s division of banking.[10]

In March 2012, the hotel was sold by the Receiver, David Findling to an unnamed investor who reportedly planned to renovate it and enter into a management agreement with Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, a division of InterContinental Hotels .[11] The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau reported that the purchaser was Mexico-based developer Gabriel Ruiz.[12] The Hotel reopened on July 17, 2013,[13] as the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Convention Center.[14] Its name was later slightly modified to Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront. Due to the quality of the renovation the hotel was awarded Development of the Year by IHG Intercontinental Hotel Group in their annual convention in Las Vegas in October 2013. Ruiz intends to reopen the iconic "Top of the Pontch" restaurant and build the second tower that was part of the hotel's original plan.[15]


  1. ^ a b "BHL: Plaza Land Corporation records 1955-1962". 
  2. ^ Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  3. ^ "Hotel Pontchartrain — Historic Detroit". 
  4. ^ Brett S. Messing and Steven A. Sugarman, Jim Cramer, Foreword (June 30, 2006). The Forewarned Investor: Don't Get Fooled Again by Corporate Fraud. Pompton Plains, NJ: Career Press, Inc. 
  5. ^ Richard L. Berke (November 5, 1989). "Helping Constituents or Themselves?". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Hospitality Net - Bass Hotels & Resorts open the Crowne Plaza Detroit Ponchatrain". 
  7. ^ "Downtown Detroit's Hotel Market Rapidly Evolving; Sheraton Detroit Riverside Opens Following $35-mi - Hotel Online".  line feed character in |title= at position 59 (help)
  8. ^ Jonathan Oosting (August 31, 2009). "Detroit Riverside Hotel goes belly up". mLive. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ John Gallagher (August 31, 2009). "Former Pontchartrain is shuttered again". Detroit Free Press. Hotel online. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Ameet Sachdev (February 3, 2010). "Owners of failed bank sue FDIC". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ "New Owner to renovate former Hotel Pontchartain in Detroit as Crowne Plaza". Grand Rapids Press. Associated Press. April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ Louis Aguilar (April 3, 2012). "Detroit's shuttered Hotel Pontchartrain finds a buyer". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Crowne Plaza hotel, the former 'Pontch,' reopens in Detroit". Crain's Detroit Business. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  14. ^ "Crowne Plaza hotel, the former 'Pontch,' reopens in Detroit". July 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Crowne Plaza Hotel Pontchartrain". 

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