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Designer of downtown's new Crowne Plaza to give the "Pontch" a whole new, colorful look

Another iconic Detroit building, the former Pontchartrain Hotel, will breathe new life later this spring after sitting vacant since 2009.
 
The Pontchartrain will soon re-open as a Crowne Plaza, an upscale hotel property owned by the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG). Ohio-based Stephen Berry Architectural Design is the design firm working on the project. The firm specializes in hotel projects nationwide, many of which are IHG properties. The firm has also worked with the previous two owners of the Pontchartrain.
 
Stephen Berry says that the new design concept for the 25-story, 371-room hotel will be sensitive to the building's 1965 modernist design. The vaulted ceiling of the lobby will be completely re-finished with gold and silver leaf. The restaurant and lounge spaces will be totally re-imagined with copper leaf accents, new fixtures and décor.
 
"The lobby and lounge will be very modern and striking. We're really changing the look," says Berry. "(The new design) really gets away from the darkness of the past."
 
The exterior of the building will also see significant aesthetic changes with a whole new color scheme. The face of the building will be neutral beige with green glass. One of the biggest changes includes a new auto-access entrance on Jefferson in IHG's signature plum color, with a white custom-built backlit canopy arcing over it. "It's very colorful. The building was always a monochromatic black and dark gray. Now it will have a whole new look."
 
Significant work is also being done to the second-floor exterior terrace, which Berry describes as a "key feature of the building."
 
Other plans include added ground-floor retail along Jefferson, including a new gift shop concept that internationally-known hotel developer Gabriel Ruiz (who is behind this development) has branded in his hotel chain through North America.
 
Source: Stephen Berry, owner of Stephen Berry Architectural Design
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Nicole Rupersburg is a former Detroiter now in Las Vegas who regularly writes about food, drink, and urban innovators. You can follow her on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves and Twitter @ruperstarski.
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