Pere Marquette delays opening until end of June, parking deck ready

By Beau Ebenezer

March 7, 2013 Updated Mar 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Thursday afternoon, developers of the Pere Marquette announced the completion of the hotel's parking deck.

However, the bad news is that the hotel will now be opening four months later than the original target date of March 1st.

Developer, Gary Matthews said this is due to multiple complications in finishing the hotel.

"A lot of problems that we did not expect when we started getting into walls," said Matthews. "We were finding asbestos. We were finding waste water and cast iron that was in very bad condition, so those all had to be replaced. We pretty much got down all the way to the structural elements of the hotel."

Meanwhile, the inside of the hotel is already making some headway.

Floors seven through ten are already stocked with furniture.

Hotel management said they have already begun the process of furnishing floors six through two.

The new goal for the Pere's final completion is June 30th, giving management an extra thirty days for staff training.

EM Properties will owe the city more than $160,000 for the four month delay.

"I think that that number was somewhat of an incentive to make sure that things kept moving, not that they needed one," said Peoria Mayor, Jim Ardis. "But it is what it is, and they ran into some significant obstacles that they dealt with. That was expected, and it is going to be a little bit longer."

The Pere Marquette renovations are part of a three-pronged downtown hotel project, which includes an adjacent Court Yard by Marriott slated to open in 2014.

The entire project is estimated to cost $93 million.

"I love managing hotels, so it is always a disappointment when I can't be in the property and see it in action," said Pere Marquette General Manager, Laura Lojas. "We are going to follow the plan according to EM Properties construction dates."

While hotel management and city officials say they are disappointed in missing out on an opportunity with March Madness visitors, they are still excited of the dynamic it will bring the city come June.

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