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Published: Wednesday, 11/2/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Toledo hotel loses Crowne Plaza label

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The hotel on Summit Street lost its Crowne Plaza label but will stay open as the Plaza Hotel Downtown Toledo. The hotel on Summit Street lost its Crowne Plaza label but will stay open as the Plaza Hotel Downtown Toledo.
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A downtown high-rise hotel has lost its Crowne Plaza affiliation and its California owner has filed for bankruptcy, records show.

The hotel, on Summit Street, will stay open and will honor all current bookings as efforts are under way to change or renew the brand of the independent facility, the general manager said. For now it will be called Plaza Hotel Downtown Toledo, the manager said.

Paradise Hospitality Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., owner of the hotel, lost the Crowne Plaza affiliation nearly three weeks ago and last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, Calif. The company's sole shareholder is identified in the court filing as Dae In Kim, a Korean businessman who lives in southern California, according to his attorney, Sam S. Oh.

The hotel owner had unpaid debts totaling more than $10 million, including more than $500,000 in federal, state, and local taxes, the filing said.

Efforts to reach Mr. Kim were unsuccessful. Reached by phone, Mr. Oh said he was unsure of the fate of the hotel.

"All I know is we had to do an emergency Chapter 11 [bankruptcy] to reorganize," he said.

An official with the InterContinental Hotels Group said the 14-story downtown hotel was "terminated on Oct. 12" as a Crowne Plaza property and would no longer carry the brand or receive booking support from the hotel group.

Jim Koen, general manager of the 241-room hotel along the downtown riverfront, said it remains open for business, and "just finished our best October in many, many years. But we did lose the [Crowne Plaza affiliation], so we'll start to feel that in November." He said the hotel probably will have to cut some of its 70 to 100 employees as business declines because of the reorganization and the winter slowdown.

The hotel will have a new Web site, www.hoteldowntowntoledo.com, as its owners and management team seek another "upscale" affiliation, either through a relicensing with Intercontinental and its Crowne Plaza brand or "either a Sheraton or a Doubletree," a process that is likely to play out over the next three to six months, Mr. Koen said.

The hotel's signs on the sides of the building soon will be covered , he said.

Employees at the hotel began using the new independent name Tuesday.

"It's a brave new world for us not having a flag," Mr. Koen said, referring to industry slang for an affiliation agreement.

County records show that Paradise Hospitality bought the hotel for $7.5 million in March, 2007. Opened in 1985 as the Hotel Sofitel, the property was known as the Toledo Riverfront Hotel until joining the Crowne Plaza chain in June, 2008, shortly after a $10 million facelift.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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