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Peoria City Council unanimously approves new redevelopment agreement for Hotel Pere Marquette

Clouds hover over the Pere Marquette Hotel sign in downtown Peoria.
Joe Deacon
The Pere Marquette Hotel in downtown Peoria.

The Peoria City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a redevelopment plan they hope will allow for fuller, expanded operations of the Pere Marquette hotel building at 501 Main St.

Now, with new ownership with Shreem LLC and the city council’s approval, the burgeoning plans for a family restaurant on the first floor, as well as potential businesses below the parking deck, may now move forward — in addition to ensuring the Pere Marquette will remain an active and operational hotel next to the Civic Center.

The city offered a variety of tax incentives to the hotel's owners in exchange for a promise not to contest property taxes. Those incentives include $2.5 million in TIF funds for hotel renovations and another $1.6 million for the parking garage commercial space buildout. The city also will rebate a significant chunk of the business's hotel, restaurant, sales, and business development district taxes through 2048.

The city also offered $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the development of two parking deck commercial spaces. Shreem Capital will make a matching $800,000 commitment.

The $1.1 million in property tax revenues the hotel generates annually will be put toward paying off the the debt Peoria owes for the $32 million in bonds it issued for hotel redevelopment in 2012. The city expects to make $1.5 million annual payments through 2043.

Mayor Rita Ali said she has a “high level of confidence” in the redevelopment plan increasing hotel usage, downtown activity, and interaction with the Civic Center.

Homeowner grants available

In another matter, the council accepted a $1.4 million grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IDHA). Up to $60,000 may be granted to residents in ZIP codes 61605 and 61603 to use for exterior home repairs such as roof, window and driveway repairs, demolition, and other types of whole-house exterior repair projects.

Another approved item was the adoption a Debt Hardship Program. Ultimately, the state will cover debt payments on behalf of individuals who owe money to the city. These would be single-instance debt forgiveness payments per individual, but each single-instance payment would cover all of the money that the individual owes to the city of Peoria.

Finally, the council unanimously agreed to file a report back on short-term rental regulations.

Short-term/special use rentals, such as Airbnbs, are currently regulated in Peoria through zoning districts they are allowed or not allowed in. Owners of short-term rental spaces need to pay hotel taxes and limit their guests to six or fewer. In areas where short-term rentals are allowed, no more than 3% of homes within a quarter mile radius may be short-term rentals. One proposed change to these regulations is to reduce those numbers to no more than 1% in a half-mile radius.

While all were in favor to continue exploring regulations for short-term rentals, the council also approved short-term renting at a duplex at 617 W. Timothy Drive.

Steve Babrowski, a member of the public and a resident of Timothy Drive, expressed his disapproval of the duplex becoming a short-term rental prior to the council’s vote.

Crime and safety concerns, along with potential risks to surrounding property value, were reasons Babrowski said he opposed the idea.

Still, the council ultimately approved the duplex for short-term renting on a 6-2 vote, with council members Grayeb and Vespa dissenting [Riggenbach, Jackson and Velpula were not present for the vote].

Andrea graduated from Richwoods High School in 2015 and from Grinnell College in 2019. She joined the station as a correspondent in 2023.