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Published: Tuesday, 6/24/2008

Downtown Toledo hotel nears link with Crowne Plaza chain

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The signs can't be illuminated until the hotel passes inspection. The signs can't be illuminated until the hotel passes inspection.
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If an inspection team that arrives tomorrow likes what it sees, the downtown inn that has called itself the Toledo Riverfront Hotel for the last year will become a Crowne Plaza Hotel for the second time in its 23-year history.

"We should - and are - going to be inspection-ready," said John Logsdon, general manager of the 14-story hotel, which a year ago was the Wyndham Hotel.

The hotel on Summit Street between Fifth Third Center at One SeaGate and the closed COSI building went through a preliminary inspection two weeks ago.

Staff has since been fine-tuning it to get approval to operate as part of the Crowne Plaza chain, which is owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group.

Crowne Plaza signs have been placed on the building, but management won't be allowed to illuminate them until Thursday - if the hotel passes a 14-page inspection checklist.

At that point, it will be tied into the hotel chain's booking system.

"Looking at the end product this is a dream hotel. This is a hotel that any hotel manager dreams that he can operate some day. But it definitely had its bumps along the way," Mr. Logsdon said.

Paradise Hospitality Inc., a San Diego hotel company owned by California businessman Andrew Kim, bought the 241-room hotel in March, 2007, for $7.5 million, hired Lane Hospitality Inc., of Chicago, to operate it, and budgeted $6 million for renovations to permit affiliation with Crowne Plaza.

Work started on rooms last fall, with most construction occurring in January. Besides the updates to all guest rooms, renovations extended to public areas, offices, and banquet facilities.

The hotel restaurant, now called del Sol, was remodeled and a martini bar was added.

Eventually, upgrades totaled nearly $10 million. "As most renovations go, you uncover things, you find you want to do this, you want to do that, then it begins to add up," Mr. Logsdon said.

Improvements to 25 rooms on the 12th floor won't be completed for a few weeks, although that won't delay Crowne Plaza status. "We feel very confident we'll be ready to go by Thursday and they'll turn on all the computer systems and allow us to turn on our signs," Mr. Logsdon said.

The name change will be the sixth for the structure, which operated as a Crowne Plaza from 1994 to 1998.

When it opened in 1985, it was a Hotel Sofitel. In 1988, it became Marriott Portside, then was bought in 1994 by Gencom American Hospitality Inc. and became the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, and later, just a Crowne Plaza.

In 1998, the hotel was bought by Wyndham International Inc., which sold it in 2005 to a private equity group, Toledo Hotel Investors LP.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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