After several years of turning business away for lack of space, the Priory Hotel in Historic Deutschtown is adding 17 rooms as well as an elevator in a $17.5 million expansion project.

The Priory currently has 25 rooms, and once the three-floor expansion is complete, that number will rise to 42, allowing the hotel to better meet its demand, said owner John Graf.

“We’ve been very, very busy, especially over the past three or four years.”

Graf said the new building, which will take the place of an apartment building that burned down in January, will look like a separate building from the outside but be completely integrated on the inside.

“We are going to try to make it as seamless as possible between the two buildings,” Graf said.

That integration will include an elevator to make the hotel more accessible. It will be built between the original Priory building and the new one to make it convenient for guests in both parts of the hotel.

The final design and blueprints for the new building will be finished by the end of October, Graf said, and he will accept bids and find a contractor in November. Construction should begin in December and last nine to 10 months.

Deustchtown resident Bob Baumbach is designing the building, and Denny Campbell is the architect on the project.

On Oct. 7, Graf received approval from the Historic Review Committee, which was required because of Deutschtown’s historic status. He received zoning board approval in September, and now is only waiting on the terms of two loans to be decided.

“It’s very close to a done deal,” Graf said.