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Pere Marquette is back in a big way


Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Pere Marquette, photos courtesy Peoria Area CVB


PEORIA, Ill. — Peoria’s best-known hotel is back, and the new rendition of the 86-year-old Pere Marquette is getting great reviews.

The 286-room hotel, now flying a Marriott flag, reopened in July after more than a year of renovations that changed everything in the hotel except its historic Presidential Suite, where presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan and other luminaries stayed.

About $44 million was spent on the hotel, part of a $93 million project that will give downtown Peoria a true convention district.

The Pere Marquette and a 116-room Courtyard by Marriott being built next to it, due to open late next year, will be attached to the Peoria Civic Center by a new skywalk. The civic center was renovated and improved three years ago. A parking garage is also being built and will serve the hotels and the center.

In addition to the 44,000 square feet of meeting space at the civic center, the Pere Marquette has 19,000 square feet of meeting and event space of its own. Guests can dine in the new, upscale restaurant, Table 19, or have drinks in its lounge; business guests can enjoy the amenities on two concierge levels.

The project is crucial for bringing visitors to Peoria, according to Amy Hawkins, director of sales for the Peoria Area CVB. “The Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette will offer meeting planners, along with business and leisure travelers, premier accommodations in the center of our vibrant city.”

The 1927 hotel’s reopening is among a series of improvements that city leaders say will change the face of downtown Peoria. The new Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Caterpillar Visitors Center are part of a recently developed riverfront area that was vacant for more than 10 years.

The museum, opened last fall, is known for its Giant Screen Theatre and the Ziess Powerdome Planetarium, with a digital projection system that displays more than 7,000 stars onto a domed ceiling. The system is also capable of presenting full-dome video shows.