The Pontch Is Back

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    Another Detroit Icon is coming back – the Hotel Pontchartrain.

    Nicknamed “the Pontch” by Detroiters, the hotel has always been dear to the city, considered one of the premium locations of downtown Detroit.

    This morning The Detroit News reported that the 25-story hotel was purchased by Gabriel Ruiz, a Mexican businessman. The hotel will become a Crowne Plaza again.

    For many years now, like several of Detroit’s iconic old buildings, the Hotel Pontchartrain has stood closed and hallow, reminding the city of its once awesome days.

    Back in 2009, another leading Detroit institution, the historic Westin Book-Cadillac, reopened to an enormous amount of fanfare, setting the stage for an awesome resurgence.

    Put simply, the News recalled in 1970, “the Pontch was the meeting place for the men who made motors hum—magnates and financiers, crackpots and geniuses, salesmen and go-getters.”

    Seven presidents stayed there. Auto barons met in its bar. Other well-heeled Detroiters would meet there to hammer the city’s future.

    Bill Bohde, a senior vice president of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the InterContinental Hotels Group, which runs the Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts chain, informed him of the sale last week. He said from what he understands, the group has an agreement in principle to make it part of the Crowne Plaza chain.

    Although the building was built in 1965, and sits on the same spot as Fort Pontchartrain, the European settlement founded in 1701, the original Pontchartrain was built on the site of another landmark hotel, the Russell House in 1906.  

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