Just outside Chicago is a newly opened venue that has already hosted events ranging from a two-day training session for QuickBooks to a James Beard Foundation fundraiser gala to an Andy Grammer concert, yet it would work equally as well for a worship service. Planners essentially have a blank space to transform when they book The Geraghty, located in Pilsen—a 15-minute drive or a half-hour ride from downtown on the L train.
Officially opened in August 2015 by Tom Kehoe, owner and president of the renowned Chicago event design firm Kehoe Designs, the 25,000-sq.-ft. space with 22-ft. ceilings resides in a warehouse with history. “Because it was a paper mill, there were no hard goods on the floor, so the integrity of the floor held true,” explains Kim Bakota, marketing manager at Kehoe Designs. The building underwent a six-month transformation to get it into shape, which included polishing the original floors, cutting out several large windows and adding skylights.
The Geraghty holds up to 1,000 people for a reception or 800 seated, but it can be broken out with linens and dividers to create more intimate areas. Having the Kehoe name attached to it is a major perk for planners, as the firm can provide decor services for events held there. “It makes a lot of sense for organizations to work with both brands,” says Bakota. “It cuts down costs and fees to help make for a more seamless process.” The space doesn’t have any preferred caterers, so planners can bring in whichever team they like. A tech team is on-hand to assist with lighting, sound and other audiovisual needs, and Bakota notes the sound system was created with the help of an acoustic engineer to ensure optimum quality.
In its short lifespan, The Geraghty has already exceeded its own expectations. “We’ve booked about 120 events next year, and we were hoping for 40,” says Bakota.
If you’re incorporating a surprise band or performer, have them hang out in the 1,200-sq.-ft. Green Room, which has its own secure Wi-Fi network and a private restroom. “A VIP can go in through the back and be kept secret until the big reveal,” says Bakota.
Photo credit: Kehoe Designs