Demolition begins on former Big Al's strip club

By Denise Jackson

February 8, 2013 Updated Feb 8, 2013 at 10:51 PM CDT

PEORIA,Ill. -- Another piece of the puzzle in the downtown Peoria Marriott Hotel project clears a hurdle. Demolition of the former Big Al's strip club has finally begun.

Leading the pack, Developer Gary Matthews was the first man to take a claw at the old Big Al's Strip club in downtown Peoria on Friday.

"It's huge, this is a milestone for me cause I was very anxious to get going on the next building," Matthews said.

Matthews says the building will come down beginning Monday to make way for a new Marriott Hotel complex, which will sit adjacent to the Pere Marquette.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says the $92 million project will be key to more downtown development.

"It's not the final piece in the puzzle. We really expect this is just gonna be a stepping stone for further redevelopment here in downtown. It's very nice to see this old nasty building coming down," Ardis said.

For Big Al's owner Al Zuccarini, it was a bitter sweet moment.

"A little sad, but it was pretty exciting actually. I look forward to the new hotel and main street. It's about time we start moving forward," he said.

Matthews says demolition could take up to two weeks and construction on the new Marriott could begin in March.

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