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New Report Indicates Opening of the $92.8 million Renovation of the
Hotel Pere Marquette in Peoria, Illinois Could be Next April,
60 days Later than Proposed

By John Sharp, Journal Star, Peoria, Ill.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Sept. 18, 2012--PEORIA

EM Properties could owe the city $82,000 if the Hotel Pere Marquette portion of its $92.8 million Marriott Hotel project opens on the targeted completion date released Monday in a city report.

According to a PSA Dewberry report, the Pere Marquette's targeted opening is now at the end of April, or about 60 days later than originally proposed.

However, the report indicates the project "appears to be on schedule," though City Manager Patrick Urich said the city will pursue monthly damage protection charges if the Downtown hotel isn't open in time for the Illinois High School Association's March Madness state basketball finals.

"Mr. (Gary) Matthews said all along he'd try for a March 1 (opening)," Urich said, while praising the progress both inside the 84-year-old hotel and outside where the parking deck is under construction.

"I am very pleased with the progress," Urich added, noting that both he and Mayor Jim Ardis recently toured the construction site with Matthews.

The renovation of the hotel, which closed in December, is supposed to be completed by March 1, according to an agreement EM Properties and the city approved earlier this year. If not, the developer will owe the city $41,000 a month until it opens.

A representative at EM Properties could not be reached for comment Monday.

Matt Troha, an IHSA spokesman, said the organization has a contingency plan in place if the Pere

Marquette isn't ready in time for the tournaments: Four Points by Sheraton Peoria would serve as a host hotel for the teams. A similar scenario existed last season.

"We certainly knew this was a possibility it wouldn't be (available) for the tournaments this year," Troha said.

The project progress report also provided an update on the parking deck construction. That work could be mostly done by the end of the year. A majority of the construction activity that can be seen around the Pere Marquette is in the parking area.

Additional construction is going on inside the hotel.

"As you continue working in a building that is this old, there are plenty of issues behind the walls you don't know about," Urich said. "There is a lot of work they have to do."

The report indicates more than 95 percent of the building's interior demolition is completed, and 95 percent of asbestos is abated. Further interior work, such as plumbing and electrical, continues.

So far, the project remains within budget, according to PSA Dewberry. The $44 million construction costs, with Core Construction Services Inc., covers the work on the Pere Marquette, the parking deck and a pedestrian bridge/skywalk leading people from the hotel complex into the Peoria Civic Center.

Of that, only 18 percent, or $7.8 million in construction, has been completed.

Additional project costs include land acquisition, fixtures and furniture, legal, financing and engineering. The 10-story Marriott Courtyard structure, which will be located next to the Pere Marquette and is supposed to be completed by March 1, 2014, will cost about $15 million.

The city's total project obligation is about $51 million, which includes its $29 million bonded expenses along with capitalized interest over 20 years. Additionally, the city loaned Matthews $7 million at the time of closing earlier this year.

The city will owe about $935,000 on its bond in 2013. By 2014, the obligation grows to $1.3 million.

John Sharp can be reached at 686-3282 or jsharp@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnSharp99.

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(c)2012 the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.)

Visit the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.) at www.PJStar.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services NASDAQ:MATW,



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