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Designer Transforms Former Paper Mill Into Swank Event Space in Pilsen

By Stephanie Lulay | September 11, 2015 5:28am
 New event venue The Geraghty is now hosting events of all kinds in Pilsen.
New event venue The Geraghty is now hosting events of all kinds in Pilsen.
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The Geraghty

PILSEN — As part of his company's move to Pilsen, designer Tom Kehoe has transformed a former paper mill into a massive new event venue.

Featuring 25,000 square feet of open event space, 22-foot ceilings and room for up to 1,000 guests, The Geraghty at 2520 S. Hoyne Ave. is now hosting parties of all kinds in Pilsen. The venue is owned and operated by Kehoe Designs, the designer's namesake firm, and named for his mother, Mickey Geraghty Kehoe.

So far this summer, The Geraghty has hosted a splashy Bar Mitzvah for 350 guests, a conference for QuickBooks, a slew of charity events and a grand opening party that saw Kehoe descend upon the crowd through the ceiling, said Cassius Wright, venue services manager.

The Geraghty celebrated its grand opening in August. [The Geraghty]

In October, the space will welcome the James Beard Foundation's Taste America dinner and the Big Orange Ball, a charity gala benefiting the Howard Brown Health Center. Starting next year, The Geraghty will begin to host weddings.

"We're incredibly busy," Wright said. "Since our opening party, I've had a fivefold increase in the volume of phone calls, emails and requests for tours."

[The Geraghty]

Opening the event venue is Pilsen just made sense, Wright said, and was part of Kehoe's larger plan to get his growing business back under one roof.

For years, Kehoe's 19-year-old design company operated out of four locations, including the firm's headquarters at 2108 W. Walnut St. in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor. Kehoe Designs provides decor and design for more than 1,000 events per year, not including the in-house events at The Geraghty.

Kehoe moved his event decor and design firm into the large Pilsen warehouse, allowing the company to stretch out in 234,500 square feet of space. The company has about 270 employees, 70 of whom work for the company full time, said Kim Bakota, marketing manager.

The Geraghty hosted its first event in May and held a grand opening in August. 

Wright said Kehoe, who set up shop in the West Loop before it was hot, loved the "revitalizing" Pilsen neighborhood, too.

"The company is known for trendsetting. Pilsen is very much on the forefront of being the new trendy neighborhood in Chicago," Wright said. "All of the hallmarks that indicate a neighborhood coming into its own again and transitioning for the better, that's everything that we see happening here."

Left: Cassius Wright, Geraghty venue services manager; Right: Tom Kehoe, founder of Kehoe Designs [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay; AIDS Foundation of Chicago]

The location also was attractive because of the building's proximity to most of the city's expressways.

The Geraghty space comes with perks that event hosts appreciate, too, Wright said. All events include wall-to-wall LED lighting from overhead, a basic sound system, coat check and 165 parking spaces in front of the venue.

A loading dock on site allows event planners to bring cars, airplanes or even an elephant into the space, Wright said.

The Geraghty has 32 restrooms spread throughout the space, two catering areas and a VIP green room.

[The Geraghty]

A private parlor space inside The Geraghty, a new event space in Pilsen. [DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay]

Kehoe was honored in May for his support of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

The Geraghty is located at 2520 S. Hoyne Ave. in Pilsen. [The Geraghty]

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