Gary Matthews has experienced over thirty years in the real estate industry, working the past eighteen years specifically in commercial leasing, property management, and development. Over 15 years ago, Gary founded a property management and development firm known as RDC Company. After a period of extensive growth and restructuring, it became time to establish a new identity with a fresh perspective. RDC Company evolved into EM Properties, Ltd. in August, 1999.
For a decade, EM Properties has specialized in hotel, retail, restaurant, and office development. Gary’s largest local project is East Peoria’s Riverside Center – 500,000 square feet of retail space situated on 65 acres, anchored by a Super Wal-Mart and Lowe’s Home Improvement Center with a host of adjacent retailers and other businesses, including: OfficeMax, Texas Roadhouse Cafe, Chili’s Restaurant, Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, and Ming’s Chinese Buffet. EM Properties’ other East Peoria developments include PetSmart, Logan’s Roadhouse, Granite City Food & Brewery, TGI Friday’s Kohl’s and the Embassy Suites Hotel. GEM Terrace, a fie-story glass office building at the corner of I-74 and Main Street, opened its doors in March 2007, and offers the area unequalled Class-A office space.
Recent additions to Gary’s portfolio include the company’s rapid expansion into the hospitality industry. Sleep Inn & Suites in Washington, IL is a 62-room facility located minutes from downtown Peoria. The brand new, 89-room, Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites sets a new standard for hospitality in East Peoria.
Currently, EM Properties’ most anticipated project is the acquisition and renovation of the Pere Marquette and its adjacent properties. This project consists of the renovations to the Pere Marquette into a full service Marriott as well as the construction of 116 room Courtyard Marriott next door. Both hotels will be connected to an adjoining parking deck and skywalk linking all three to the Peoria Civic Center.
Gary is a member of the Marriott Owners Association and the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers). He is also involved in many social programs, including being a past director of the Neighborhood House and a past board member for the Center for Prevention of Abuse. His development company, EM Properties, was named the 2005 East Peoria Business of the Year. He and his wife, Rocio, are very involved with the community, volunteering for various public boards and supporting local charities. Recently, the Peoria Journal Star named Gary, “Business Man of the Year.”