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Crowne Plaza hotel owners plan 28-story second tower downtown



The owners of the Crowne Plaza Downtown Detroit Riverfront hotel downtown are planning a 28-story second tower that would rise about 338 feet, taller than the existing 25-story building.

The owner, a Mexican and European investor group called Operadora de Servicio Para Hoteles de Lujo, submitted documents to a Detroit City Council committee saying that the second tower for the hotel formerly known as the Hotel Pontchartrain would have 448,300 square feet with typical floors of about 15,900 square feet.

Construction would start this fall or winter and be complete in 2021, a document provided to the Detroit City Council's Planning and Economic Development standing committee says. When complete, there would be about 150 permanent workers in the tower.
 

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Was looking through the recent councile meeting packets and found an update on this one from the 13th. It's still 28 floors, but the height is now given at 327 feet. However, since it literally looks like city council packets are scanned on a bad Xerox machine, you can't make out any numbers on the elevation drawings. So I'm not sure what this is measured from (street or existing top of podium) or to (main roof or penthouse roof).

Anyway, they give the room count as 494, and says that there will be 3,040 square feet of new retail space on the ground floor, and 18,000 square feet of additional events space in the expanded podium, which will include further retail, office and meeting space. The entire podium for the new tower - including the ground floor - will be 9 stories and also include 146 new parking spaces topped by 19 stories of hotel rooms.

Interesting enough, while the initial conceptualizations show a tower of basically identical design to the current tower, the new tower would be a different brand than the Crowne Plaza. The Crowne Plaza's main entrance would be on West Larned, and the new hotel's main entrance would be on West Jefferson.

The planning commission has already approved this, and it went to the city council on the 13th for approval.
 

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Well, finally found out why the city council was holding out on approving of the city planning commissions review for this project. Someone must have had it out for the hotel, because the city council found out there was a bedbug issue (among other issues), and made approval of this review contigent upon them showing that they are addressing the issue in the existing hotel. So, they sent this project back to the city planning commission for further review.

Well, the city planning commission once again recommended approval of the project, and it goes back before the council, tonight, apparently. Hopefully, there are no more problems with this one.
 

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Well, finally found out why the city council was holding out on approving of the city planning commissions review for this project. Someone must have had it out for the hotel, because the city council found out there was a bedbug issue (among other issues) ...
Crowne Plaza, in my experience, offers a very inconsistent product. I think the council was right to make them wait.
 

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To be clear, the problem is with the owner. I guess you can blame the product on Crowne Plaza not being consistently careful about who they give a franchise, too. But this second tower is going to be another brand, not a Crowne Plaza hotel.
 

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Move this one to "cancelled." The city wanted the owner to sign a neutrality agreement with a labor union involved in all of this as a condition for approval, and the owner pulled the project, instead.

Crowne Plaza pulls plans for second hotel tower

After striking out twice at Detroit City Council, the owners of the Crowne Plaza in downtown Detroit are pulling the plug on a new 500-room 28-story hotel tower connected to Cobo Center — for now — and considering new hotel investments in Houston and San Diego instead.

Operadora de Servicio Para Hoteles de Lujo, a Mexican and European investor group that bought the former Hotel Pontchartrain out of bankruptcy in 2013, has decided to stop pursuing the project after council members suggested the company should sign a neutrality agreement for a labor union to represent hotel workers.

The investor group's board met Thursday and decided to shift its new U.S. investment to Texas and California after two failed City Council votes on a plan that sought no tax breaks or subsidies for a $164 million project, said Gerardo Carreno, asset manager for the hotel's owners.
I believe this is the first large-scale project in recent memory the council has rejected. This one is a special quirk, though, because it was the specific zoning district in which the property is located that allowed them to do this, at all. This district is one of the only ones that require a "Special District Review" before council. Literally a block or two away and they'd have had shovels in the ground, already. Oh, well.

Anyway, while I'd called this cancelled the investor group says it's on-hold, but I'd imagine whatever project is resurrected won't be the same one. So for all intents and purposes, this particular iteration of the plan is dead.

"We are not walking away from this opportunity; we will just put it on hold and on the queue until the time is right," Carreno told Crain's. "In the meantime, we will focus on other markets, but we are still fully committed to Detroit with our current operation."
Hopefully, the owner can work out the issues with his employees in the meantime as this appeared to be literally the only thing the plan was hinging on. Apparently, the mayor's office wasn't excited about this plan, either, as they did not attempt to insert themselves in the labor disagreement. To be honest, I suspect no one feels any urgency on this given all of the hotels currently under construction, a new construction hotel that will be part of the redevelopment Joe Louis site, and the potential new hotel that Bedrock may include in the Hudson Tower. And, quite frankly, I don't blame them. I was never particularly excited about this one.
 

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I wouldn't say it was particularly short given the circumstances. Or, rather, they formally proposed this in January and were all ready to build. This dragged on longer than it was supposed to; this was the second review. They were expecting approval by March or April, actually.

If it was short, it was because they expected to have had shovels in the ground by the summer given they'd weren't requesting any kind of rezoning, subsidies, etc.
 

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That's typically true of Detroit,'' and I'd guess a lot of cities. It, of course, depends on the circumstance of the particular project. Given that the developer wasn't requesitng anything from the city, this actually dragged on significiantly longer than it was supposed to; this honestly shouldn't have taken longer than three months from introduction to the Planning Commission to City Council approval. The developer had the restart the process after the original run-around, and was believed up until they pulled this that they were about to restart the process for a third go.
 
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