May 2012
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Caterpillar purchases naming rights to Civic Center-hotel connector

One of the most prominent pieces of the hotel redevelopment will carry a corporate sponsor’s name: the Caterpillar Sky Walk.

Part of the downtown hotel project is the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Fulton connecting the renovated Pere Marquette and new Courtyard Marriott to the Peoria Civic Center. Caterpillar, Inc., purchased the naming rights to the bridge for one million dollars.

The naming rights agreement, which is only between the hotel developer and Caterpillar (not the City of Peoria or the Civic Center), allows Caterpillar to “name the Connector, including the right to display appropriate signage on the exterior and interior of the Connector,” but “not includ[ing] any other marketing, advertising, or other rights.” The agreement specifically says that Caterpillar does not have any rights to name the hotel or garage, but it also forbids the developer from granting naming rights to “any person or entity that competes with Caterpillar in any industry that is part [of] the core business of Caterpillar.”

Neither the redevelopment agreement between the City of Peoria and the hotel developer, nor the easement agreement between the Peoria Civic Center, City of Peoria, and the hotel developer, precludes the sale of naming rights. Council members contacted Monday said they were unaware that naming rights had been sold for the connector, or that there were any plans to do so.

Artist's rendering of the planned pedestrian walkway over Fulton, looking northwest


28 comments to Caterpillar purchases naming rights to Civic Center-hotel connector

  • GOPer

    Is there a problem here?

  • Blogger Bash at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 29, at Kelleher’s on Water Street.

    Be there or be talked about.

    And the naming rights? Fitting. Since Caterpillar is driving this whole damn project.

  • What would you expect?

  • BTW, I can’t wait to crap in the Komatsu toilets.

  • GOPer: That’s up to the readers to decide. There’s no problem legally, if that’s what you mean. On the other hand, taxpayers of the City of Peoria are contributing a $29 million grant plus a $7 million loan plus a free easement over the public right of way to this project. Perhaps some taxpayers can be forgiven for wondering why we’re not getting the naming rights for this project. Also, some might find using the walkway as a giant billboard a bit off-putting aesthetically. Or perhaps most people just don’t care since they don’t go downtown anyway and probably won’t ever see it.

  • GOPer

    Well it seems to me pretty fitting, as half the people in this town are employed by Cat or are here because of Cat one way or the other. I have no problem with it. Anything to solidify the commitment that Cat feels to this town is A-OK by me. Personally, I’d look for a bigger fish to fry.

  • David P. Jordan

    CJ Summers wrote: Perhaps some taxpayers can be forgiven for wondering why we’re not getting the naming rights for this project.

    Caterpillar is also a taxpayer, but probably one of only a few that can afford naming rights (they’re aren’t getting those rights for free are they?). Which brings me to another point: wouldn’t revenue from such rights help offset costs and reduce risk to taxpayers (probably a small reduction but still…).

  • GOPer: Not frying any fish here. I report; you decide. 🙂

  • checking for details.

    The concern for me is not that Cat bought naming rights to the project, but that the council once again didn’t think things through. They were so driven to do this project that they robbed the retirement fund (isn’t that why the state is in so much trouble) and that they are going to stick the taxpayers for the debt service to the loan to not $29 million, but $60 million before it’s all said and done. If there were naming rights to be sold then the taxpayers shouldn’t have to have shelled out so much for this mess. Matthews saw these idiots coming, as usual, with the checkbook to our money ready to sign over anything to a developer that he is going to reap as much from this deal as he can, no matter who else has to foot the bill.

    More failed research and due diligence on the council AND city manager’s part. But hey, there’s always more staff to cut next year…

  • Martin Palmer

    We have the Murry Baker bridge, Why not name it the Holt / Best Skywalk. But some people will not know who Holt or Best or even Murry Baker was.

  • District 150 Observer

    Good idea. The Catwalk. No problems with this–good move….. that was talked about for years.

  • rayman

    Name aside, the skywalk is not a good thing. We need pedestrians on the street level for downtown Peoria to thrive. Pedestrian foot traffic leads to small business viability. The skywalk will make it so that convention goers will potentially never have to step foot on a Peoria sidewalk. That, without question, is a very bad thing.

  • Sterling

    Unfortunately, the reality of life in Central Illinois is that we have these pesky times of the year called “winter” that require a skybridge between our Civic Center’s marquee hotel and the venue if we want to draw in the types of conventions the Civic Center has in mind.

    What’s important is that the skybridge network not be expanded beyond this binary system across Fulton Street… not that it’d have anywhere to go anyway. Conventioneers are still going to want to go some place to eat, drink, and be merry after a day of conferencing, and those types of places won’t be connected to the skybridge.

    More pedestrian attractions and destinations downtown will ensure more pedestrian activity on the street, skybridge or not. I don’t think we need to worry about downtown Peoria turning into a mini Rosemont or Minneapolis with a full network of skywalks any time soon.

  • District 150 observer

    Marriott Pere Marquette project may already be behindBy WEEK Producer

    May 9, 2012

    Updated May 9, 2012 at 9:42 PM CDT

    PEORIA, Ill — One week after groundbreaking for the Marriott Pere Marquette, the developer says he’s not sure if they’ll be able to make the March first re-opening deadline.

    E-M Properties developer Gary Matthews says demolition crews and contractors are in flux right now because they’re not sure what kinds of structural and mechanical challenges lie ahead inside the Hotel. It’s being gutted and renovated as part of the 92-million dollar Marriott complex.

    “Until I know what all the unknowns are known I can’t make a prediction nor can the contractors make a prediction when we can absolutely be sure we’ll be open,” Matthews says.

    If the Pere fails to open on the March 1st, 2013 deadline, Matthews could be charged an extra $41,000 per month.

    Caterpillar paid $1 million to help facilitate closing on the Marriott complex. A Caterpillar spokesperson confirms the company will have its name associated with A skywalk attaching the hotel to the Peoria Civic Center.

  • District 150 observer

    There is no way the Pere opens before June 1. That may be optimistic.

  • Sterling says, “the reality of life in Central Illinois is that we have these pesky times of the year called ‘winter’ that require a skybridge between our Civic Center’s marquee hotel and the venue if we want to draw in the types of conventions the Civic Center has in mind.”

    Rubbish. The skywalk is not going to be a catalyst for more convention business. Are you serious? You really think the poor performance of the Civic Center for the past 30 years is a weather problem? With all due respect, you’re parroting PACVB propaganda, and it’s simply not true.

  • Since the Marriott is owned by a Mormon family and they put the Book of Mormon in all their rooms, will Bishop Jenky want his parking lot back?

  • District 150 observer

    A renovated Pere and a skywalk are both good for the PCC attracting conventions.. Addl rooms at a new attached Courtyard will also be a plus.

  • anp

    I can see it now as convention planners are looking at sites for Dec-Feb conventions- “Well why should we go to Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlanta, (or any warm weather site) when we can go to Peoria with the skywalk”.

    It will be interesting to see the reasons offered 5 years from now if the convention business at the PCC has not grown.

  • checking for details.

    “It will be interesting to see the reasons offered 5 years from now if the convention business at the PCC has not grown.”

    1. we still can’t keep a restaurant open downtown. so blame East Peoria.
    2. There isn’t direct highway or rail service to Chicago, St. Louis, or South Pekin.
    3. Food trucks, Food trucks, Food trucks.
    4. Bva kicked the West Bluff and others out of her district.
    5. Spain gets into the mayor’s seats and mortgages the entire city to a developer with three magic beans. In his defense they were shiny.
    6. Due to unexpected weather phenomona called rain and snow we had to replace the steps to Heartland Partnership yet again.
    7. The gangs have robbed everyone at the last three conventions so no one else will come to Peoria…but hey there is no crime problem in Peoria.
    8. crackheads keep stealing the airconditioning units for the walkway.
    9. Matthews fails to actually build anything and is retiring in a non extradition country on the 36$ million in tax dollars.
    10. People are stuck in the roundabout, circling endlessly and cannot escape.

  • clayton

    It’s been over a decade since I was a tradeshow coordinator, but it was nice to have a skywalk from the hotel to the expo hall. You didn’t have to try and time out your trips back and forth to the hotel with the weather. You pay good money to have your area look good.

    I don’t know if the Catwalk will help bring any tradeshows to the area, but it should look nice.

  • District 150 observer

    The “attached hotel” concept is important to convention planners. Combine that with a top shelf hotel—that the Pere hasn’t been in yrs—along with more rooms and this is a definite plus for the PCC. Anybody that doubts that isn’t looking at this objectively.

    That said, can the Pere/Courtyard make it financially? That is a different issue altogether.

  • checking for details.

    I still believe that a much better plan would have been to build a hotel in the lot of the civic center itself. It’s still a 2 to 2.5 block walk to the hotel. When I have stayed in attached hotels, they have been directly adjacent to the covention centeror included with the convention center. It is still inconvienent and that word will get out as well. My belief is that there were plans for that option, but did not include the Pere. It’s not a well thought out plan or even the best way to achieve the attached hotel concept.

  • I was going to write a retort to D150’s mistaken belief that an attached hotel is going to bring the conventions flocking to Peoria, but Peoria Anti-Pundit explained it all very succinctly on his blog:

    The Civic Center will, as it has done since it was built, lose money, like it always does and why? Because it is undersized, located in the middle of Illinois and there are no direct connections to anywhere without going through Bloomington or Galesburg and no passenger rail and really, a limited airport. Outside of that, there is absolutely nothing downtown other than a strip joint and a Hooters. No movie theaters, no neat shops, no nothing. And the museum won’t be much either as if you remember, if people aren’t going to walk a block in the cold to a convention, they sure as hell aren’t going to walk 5 blocks downhill to a museum.

    I disagree with his statement that the Civic Center is “undersized,” but other than that he’s exactly correct.

    On the list of reasons conventions bypass Peoria, you may recall that no less an authority than the former secretary/treasurer of the PACVB, Sami Qureshi, revealed just a couple years ago that the top two are the Civic Center’s rate structure and limited air service — not the lack of a “headquarters hotel.”

    I would add that, once you do get to Peoria by air, you pretty much have to rent a car because our public transportation is so inconvenient, and to get to most of the amenities Peoria offers (shopping, theaters, etc.) means getting from downtown out to the far north end of town.

    And the bigger picture is that there is a glut of convention and hotel space available regionally and nationally — “far more than demand warrant[s].” According to a recent City Journal article:

    The convention business has been waning for years. Back in 2007, before the current economic slowdown, a report from Destination Marketing Association International was already calling it a “buyer’s market.” It has only worsened since. In 2010, conventions and meetings drew just 86 million attendees, down from 126 million ten years earlier. Meantime, available convention space has steadily increased to 70 million square feet, up from 40 million 20 years ago.

    This idea that all these new hotel rooms and expanded Civic Center are going to really set our city apart and draw more, bigger conventions is a pipe dream. There is no “objective” evidence for such a view, unless you believe the fuzzy math of consultants hired by developers to keep those public subsidies flowing into their pockets.

  • checking for details.

    or if you believe the marketing done by HP/the Chamber/Spain
    of course, I am certain that there is no conflict with THAT arrangement.

  • I stand by my undersize remark and even though the Civic Center can seat 12,000+, same as the I Wireless Center in the Quad Cities, it is still to small for big named acts without outrageous ticket prices. The only reason the Quad Cities seems to draw the better concerts and acts, like Van Halen in September is also because of the access to the Quad Cities. They have a series of Interstates going through there where we have only I 74 in Peoria. It’s like if you are on tour, you can stop at the Quad Cities as you head west or east of south or where ever. Peoria is like ok, let’s take the back road and visit the relatives, before getting back on the main highway. Maybe a reason Bloomington’s US Cellular does better than many expected. More than one way in and out.

  • Well, yes, our Civic Center is “undersized” for very large acts just like our downtown stadium is “undersized” for a major league ballgame. But that’s because our City is “undersized” for such events as well. I doubt that we could fill an arena the size of the United Center even if we had one.

  • Karrie E. Alms


    More failed research and due diligence on the council AND city manager’s part. But hey, there’s always more staff to cut next year…

    Perhaps for the council … but not for the city manager … he is a very intelligent man and always seems to know where all the dominos need to go and which direction that they need to fall … just remember the DCEO document for the museum … he knows what to do to get the desired outcome … even if the taxpayer ends up getting the short end of the stick.

    Meanwhile … at the NA meeting … the speech will likely be about his concern for the older neighborhoods … just not drinking that cool-aid. Actions speak louder than words!