Developer has not given up on meeting deadline

By Denise Jackson

September 18, 2012 Updated Sep 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- In Peoria, work on a downtown hotel project may not make the March first deadline imposed by the city, but the developer says while demolition has been slow, the next phase of the project is expected to speed up.

Gutting the Hotel Pere Marquette from the top down did not come without obstacles and unknowns according to developer Gary Matthews.

"We have 21 shafts of 13 floors to rebuild those shafts and that was done and we did not suspect that. In addition to doing that, we also had water supply and many of those had to be redone," Matthews said.

Matthews says new plumbing is being installed throughout the entire building including the basement which will house the executive offices that were previously on the second level. That space will be used for the fitness center. Tuesday crews were removing asbestos from one of the ballrooms.

"Asbestos is always an unknown when you're dealing with a building that's been through as many rehabs as they have. We are obligated to abate it and it takes time," he said.

Matthews says the Marriott Corporation has approved most of the decor in two model rooms. Restoring woodwork on the twelfth floor where the presidential suite is located has also begun. Check-in areas will be on the ground floor adjacent to the restaurant and great room area.

Matthews says now that demolition is 97 percent complete, renovations should speed up. Matthews has not ruled out meeting the March first deadline for opening.

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