March 12–EAST PEORIA — A Holiday Inn Express hotel is coming to the East Peoria riverfront.

The City Council this week approved an incentive package for the developer, Frontier Hospitality Group of Davenport, Iowa, that will allow construction to begin this spring or early summer. The 93-unit, four-story hotel, adjacent to Bass Pro Shops, is expected to open in the spring of 2016.

The city-owned 2.5-acre property was given to the developer at no cost, and the city will incur the cost of bringing utilities — sewer, water, gas and electricity — to the site. Also, property taxes will be rebated for seven years and the city will help pay up to $300,000 of the costs of any special foundation construction the building might require because of its proximity to the Illinois River, according to Ty Livingston, the city’s director of planning and community development. The property is valued at about $500,000.

Those costs would be recouped by the city in three years from the newly generated hotel tax revenues.

Intercontinental Hotel Group, the developer’s parent company, “sent a variety of developers to the city,” Livingston said. “This project rose to the top of the list.”

The property has been something of a hard sell for the city in the four years since Bass Pro has been open, partly because of its relative inaccessibility. The property is located at the end of Bass Pro Drive, a road the city built as part of the deal it gave that business to locate in the city. Currently, Bass Pro is the only business on Bass Pro Drive.

“The visibility of the property is great as it is seen by anyone traveling on (Interstate) 74, but its accessibility is less than stellar,” Livingston said.

But, the business would benefit by the Holiday Inn Express brand and by the trend of modern travelers booking hotel rooms online and then finding their way to the hotel with a GPS unit, Livingston said.

“Accessibility is less of a concern than it could be,” Livingston said.

It will be the third hotel with the Holiday Inn brand in East Peoria. A Holiday Inn Express, with a different owner, is located at 300 Eastlight Court about 2.5 miles away, behind the Main Street Kohl’s department store; a Holiday Inn & Suites is located in the nearby Levee District.

Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @scotthilyard.