The Priory will expand its North Side presence with the addition of an event space and brewpub inside the century-old former Workingman’s Savings Bank.

Built in 1902, the structure was most recently an ARC House alcohol-recovery center before falling vacant. The building sits on East Ohio St., a few blocks away from The Priory Hotel. The former owners had cut up the space with drywall and turned it into a dormitory-like structure.

“It looked nothing like a bank building when we first saw it,” says John Graf, president and CEO of the Priory Hospitality Group. “The building has great marble. There’s an incredible two-story atrium with a mezzanine.”

Arc house 2
ARC House in 2016.

Graf partnered with the original owners, October Development, and brought in Kris Senko of Senko Construction.

The events space, which they have given the working title of “Priory Vault,” will include the atrium and a lower level. Graf envisions a wedding party using the lower level for a cocktail reception before moving upstairs to the main event space.

The top will be a public brewpub with rooftop seating and views of Downtown. They hope to partner with a local or regional brewery and license their name for space, where they would offer a selection of the brewery’s beers and a handful of other offerings. No decision has been made yet on which brewery it might be, but they plan to have it open every day of the year.

ARC House events space.

The building will sit next door to an already announced six-story, 96-room Comfort Inn and Suites also being developed by October Development.

“I see this project and the hotel as a key component in creating a really nice gateway into the North Side,” says Graf. “I see it as a catalyst to develop East Deutschtown.”

Construction is scheduled to begin on the Vault in February or March.

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.