RENAISSANCE CLEVELAND HOTEL (formerly Cleveland Hotel, Hotel Cleveland, Stouffer's Inn on the Square, and Stouffer Renaissance Cleveland Hotel) is the most recent hotel to occupy the historic PUBLIC SQUARE site at the intersection of Superior Ave. at the Square. Phinney Mowrey built a popular tavern there in 1812; Donald MacIntosh bought it in 1820 and operated it as the Cleveland Hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1840. Rebuilt, it became the Forest City House, and for 6 decades the hostelry was a social, commercial, and historical center of Cleveland.
By 1915 the landmark structure was a shabby reminder that much downtown activity had moved further uptown. In an attempt to revitalize the Public Square area, investors closed the old hotel and built a new 1,000-room Hotel Cleveland at a cost of $4.5 million. The VAN SWERINGEN brothers acquired it as part of their Terminal Complex in the 1920s, and after considering its replacement, reinforced the structure instead and dug a tunnel underneath the building to accommodate their rapid transit project. Although the fortunes of the hotel sagged during the Depression, along with those of the Van Sweringens, the Hotel Cleveland remained under the control of the Cleveland Terminal Bldg. Co. through the late 1940s, when its ownership left the city.
In 1958 the hotel was acquired by the Sheraton chain, which renamed it the Sheraton-Cleveland and installed a new $5.2 million ballroom as part of its renovation. However, the hotel faltered during the 1960s as the advantages of its central location were offset by traffic problems. An investor group, STS (Save-the-Square, Inc.), rescued it from receivership in 1976, paying off the creditors and restoring its former elegance. Managed by Stouffer Corp., the refurbished hotel reopened in 1978 as Stouffer's Inn on the Square. In 1989 it was renamed the Stouffer-Tower City Plaza. Renaissance International, a subsidiary of New World Enterprises, purchased the hotel in 1993 after a brief period of ownership by Nestle International. It then became the Stouffer Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. In early 1996, the hotel was scheduled to drop the Stouffer affiliation and become the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.