From Left: Tim Wilson and Bob Wilson of Bridges & Company, Architect Bob Baumbach, Mark Masterson of The Northside Community Development Fund, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, John Graf, Suzanne Graf, Ted Licastro of First National Bank, Ed Graf and Mary Ann Graf.

Just over a year after a fire gutted a six-unit apartment building at 608 and 610 Pressley Street in Historic Deutschtown, the Graf family held a groundbreaking for the expansion of their Priory Hotel on the razed lot.

“It was not 14 months ago when we had a horrific fire here. Out of those ashes, we see something coming out of the ground that will be tremendous for the Northside,” said John Graf at the morning ceremony on March 3.

Once connected to their existing 25-room boutique hotel on all three floors, the 10,000 square foot expansion will provide 17 new rooms and house additional meeting space, a business center and a fitness center.

“One of things that excites me most, looking at these designs, is how well this is going to fit into the neighborhood,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “That something the community takes very seriously.”

Architect Bob Baumbach designed the addition to resemble a 19th century mansion townhouse in keeping with the architectural history of Historic Deutschtown.

“I think this is going to add some of the things we needed but couldn’t have here — like an elevator and ramp,” said Mary Ann Graf, wife of Ed Graf and co-owner, with Ed, their son John and his wife Suzanne, of Priory Development. Mary Ann said the elevator and ramp would help the building, a former monastery, comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I’m already buying furniture and pictures,” Mary Ann said with a laugh.

The Graf family named Bob Fitzgerald of Bridges & Company the project manager. Fitzgerald plans to complete the project by Nov. 1 of this year.

The total cost of the expansion is estimated at $2.25 million, and First National Bank and the Northside Community Development Fund are financing the construction segment.