A developer’s ‘dream come true’
Beloved Grand Prospect Hall denied landmark status, interior already destroyed
The Grand Prospect Hall, pre-scaffolding. Photo by Susan De Vries
COURIER LIFE, SEPTEMBER 17-23, 2021 3
BY BEN VERDE
It’s a dream come true —
for the developer.
The Grand Prospect Hall
was denied review for landmark
status by the Landmarks
on Sept. 14, making its
imminent demolition all the
In a letter to the neighborhood
to save the building, the commission
stated that the building
was not suitable for landmark
status, citing extensive
changes to its facade throughout
the 20th century and the
recent demolition of its historic
“Because of alterations to
the exterior and interior of
the building, it does not have
suffi cient historic integrity
for consideration as a landmark,”
the letter reads.
It specifi cally lists the removal
of the facades pedimented
cornice, the alteration
of its frieze above the fi rst
story, and the enclosure of its
portico as damning alterations
that have removed any
potential it had to be a landmarked
The building was recently
purchased by developer Angelo
Rigas who plans to demolish
it and erect a residential
development in its place.
Rigas has fi led for demolition
permits that have not yet been
granted, as Brooklyn Paper
fi rst reported. The building
has since been coated in scaffolding.
For years, the venue on
Prospect Avenue near Fifth
Avenue was owned by the
Halkias family who operated
it as an events space, playing
host to countless weddings,
proms, and celebrations. The
family enjoyed a local celebrity
status thanks to their
constantly-airing low budget
the tagline, “we’ll make your
dreams come true!”
Michael Halkias died in
the summer of 2020 from the
coronavirus, and his wife, Alice
Halkias, sold the building
to Rigas the following year.
Rigas has claimed the building’s
gilded interior was already
demolished when he
The Grand Prospect Hall
was designed by architect Ulrich
J. Huberty in 1901 and
originally served as a banquet
hall and social club for the
neighborhood’s Eastern European
community. Huberty has
designed a number of other
landmarked buildings in
Brooklyn, including the Williamsburgh
Savings Bank and
the Prospect Park Boathouse.
“It’s defi nitely not what we
wanted,” said Solya Spiegel,
one of the teen activists leading
the fi ght to save the building.
Spiegel and her boyfriend,
Toby Pannone, submitted the
landmark request last month.
Speaking to Brooklyn Paper
Tuesday, Spiegel said they
would continue the fi ght.
“We’re not going to stop —
we’ll keep writing people, calling
the mayor, calling offi ces,
we’ll keep putting up posters,”
she said. “We’ll do whatever
we can do get anyone to notice.”
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