Pere Marquette Grand Opening

By WEEK Reporter

June 28, 2013 Updated Jun 28, 2013 at 10:10 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- After more than a year of renovations and extended deadlines the wraps are off of a popular downtown Peoria landmark. Doors opened Friday at the Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette Hotel.

A huge crowd of local, regional and state leaders welcomed the grand old lady back to life as doors opened Friday at the Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette Hotel.

Developer Gary Matthews called the $50 million renovated historic hotel a proud accomplishment.

"This project means so much to so many, for EM Properties and myself it is a redemption of the greatness of this community, it launches a new era of economic development," said Matthews.

Matthews and city leaders are banking on the full service Marriott Pere Marquette hotel to boosts tourism dollars in downtown Peoria.

Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President Don Welch said it's already showing promise.

"it can allow us to bring more larger conventions and sporting events to the Peoria area, it's a huge impact," said Welch.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said, "I don't think there is a hotel property outside of the city of Chicago that comes anywhere near this. And I think it's something that our taxpayers who invested in this hotel, I think it's gonna be something they'll be very proud of."

The 14 story hotel was remodeled from top to bottom, at a cost of about $50 million dollars.

It has 286 guest rooms, four ballrooms, a restaurant, and a huge open lobby with several other full service amenities.

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said with the new downtown museum and Caterpillar visitors center the River City is making progress.

"We have very bright things and a long run way ahead of us so Gary EM Properties congratulations a wonderful day here in Peoria," said Oberhelman.

The hotel has already about 120 employees and several more will be hired when the Marriott Courtyard next to the Pere Marquette is completed.