The Edward Hotel & Convention Center, long known as the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, was shut down Friday by the city of Dearborn for safety violations.
The 772-room hotel and conference center, once the go-to spot for large meetings in the region, has seen business declines and a series of owners since fall 2012, when Hyatt ended its management agreement.
Its current owner, Toronto businessman Xiao Hua “Edward” Gong, is facing criminal charges in Canada.
Gong was arrested by Canadian authorities in December 2017 on four charges, including fraud and money laundering, for allegedly selling worthless stock certificates from 2012 to 2017, according to a Nov. 8 story in The Globe and Mail. He and his attorneys say the charges were the result of coercion and should be thrown out, according to the report.
Gong was listed as the manager of The Edward Hotel’s owner, 600 Town Center Realty LLC, and its operator, Edward Hotel Michigan LLC, in ownership documents filed with the city in May 2016.
The city of Dearborn had been working with the hotel’s current management to renew the hotel’s certificate of occupancy since May 2016, said Mary Laundroche, the city’s director of public information.
The hotel, whose closure was first reported Friday morning by WXYZ-Channel 7, had been making progress on complying with all property maintenance codes and regaining its certificate of occupancy, Laundroche said. The city had allowed it to continue as a business as long as city inspectors did not see life safety issues there. But inspections conducted Dec. 4-10 revealed fire safety and property maintenance code violations that were so serious the city needed to close the building to protect guests, employees and the public, she said.
“Their inactions shut the hotel down, and the city responded,” Laundroche said.
The city posted notices of coming closure in the hotel on Wednesday and notified the hotel’s general manager that the hotel could not operate beyond noon today if the violations were not addressed.
A hotel staff member who answered the phone Friday afternoon confirmed the hotel closed as of noon Friday but said the general manager was not immediately available to comment.
It’s not clear how many employees remained at the hotel, but during recent inspections the city noted only a skeleton crew, Laundroche said.
The Edward owes $1.1 million in outstanding taxes, Laundroche said, but noted the overdue taxes were not the reason the city shut it down.
“We certainly want a resolution where the property could be brought back up to code and be a destination hotel like it used to be. That would be our goal,” she said.
“We’re certainly willing to work with the owners and operators to see if that could happen, but right now we have to be worried about the safety violations.”
Lack of renovations to the hotel, which opened in 1976, and a surge of new rooms coming online in downtown Detroit have hurt business at the Dearborn hotel in recent years, said Michael O’Callaghan, executive vice president and COO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The DMCVB has continued to show the hotel to meeting planners who had an interest in it, he said. “But the condition of the hotel was getting to the point where people really didn’t enjoy staying there,” he said.
The hotel is in bad condition and too big for the amount of business it can attract in today’s climate, O’Callaghan said. “It’s just not a property that’s marketable moving forward,” he said.
The DMCVB will do everything it can to work with clients who had booked rooms or events at that hotel, O’Callaghan said.
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