Today’s news:

‘Grand’ threat? Hotel plan includes not-so-subtle warning

The Brooklyn Paper

Make our dreams come true — or else!

That’s what Michael and Alice Halkias, owners of the posh Grand Prospect Hall banquet palace, are saying to neighbors whose support they need at a meeting tonight concerning their controversial plan to build an 11-story hotel on Prospect Avenue between 15th and 16th streets.

The bizarre gambit is detailed in a flier the Halkias’ distributed about the project, first reported on BrooklynPaper.com this week.

“If Grand Prospect Hall cannot compete with the ‘Mega Hotel Grand Ballrooms’ for the daily corporate business and the major institutional work … the alternate course would be to cater to a low end clientele with limited budgets, limited options, but with large numbers,” the document reads.

“The need for profitability will override any consideration of lifestyle, even if it may be undesirable — only profitability and group size will matter.”

The flier’s tone appalled residents. “It sounds like a threat to me, and I don’t like being threatened,” said 16th Street resident Bo Samajopoulos. “Is he saying that he is going to bring lowlifes here on purpose just to screw with us?”

Michael Halkias said there is no ultimatum.

“It’s not a threat — it’s very simple math,” he said. “We are looking for Plan A. We are elegant people, and we want to compete at the same level as our competitors, who have sleeping space and parking.”

The catering hall’s motto is, “We make your dreams come true” — and it has has been doing so for 120 years, the last 30 under the Halkiases’ ownership. In the flier, the couple boasts of that longevity.

“We were here a long time ago, before any normal person would dare populate this socially wild west community,” the flier reads. “We are the originals in the territory and we mean to continue serving you all.”

The problem is, the project is nearly twice the area’s legal building height of six stories, and will require a variance from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.

Halkias said he has yet to submit paperwork to the city that would trigger a formal public review, and Thursday’s meeting is simply an informal presentation of the plans.

The Hotel Grand Prospect presentation to Community Board 7 will be at PS 10 [511 Seventh Ave. between Prospect Avenue and 17th Street in Park Slope, (718) 854-0003], Jan. 13, 6:30 pm.

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lourdes torres-shepard from fort greene says:
i would like to know who exactly are these "lowlife" people they are referring to? it sounds to me that again we dealing with "race" issues in the slope...that only "the right kind" of individuals can exist there...mmm i wonder who are these "lowlifers"???????
Jan. 13, 2011, 8:12 am
freddy from slope says:
"we are elegant people"

unless....
Jan. 13, 2011, 9 am
judahspechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Read yestersday's column on The Dock St project & Wakentas' email. Politicians are doing so it ain't surprising?
I quote a famous rap song "Here's what they think about you"
Jan. 13, 2011, 9 am
Peter Engel says:
Nice - this shows exactly what the Halkias family thinks of the clientele they've been serving the last 30 years.

Here's my favorite - “We were here a long time ago, before any normal person would dare populate this socially wild west community,” the flier reads. “We are the originals in the territory and we mean to continue serving you all.”

I lived in that neighborhood 25 years ago, and while it wasn't Park Avenue, it was hardly the Wild West either.
I wonder where the Halkias family lives? I'm gonna guess Staten Island.

"We are elegant people" -- uh - NO. I've been to events at your tacky place and seen your commercials. You kind of remind me of that couple that snuck into a White House dinner last year. If you can't get others to say that about you, it isn't true.

This actually sounds like a very good idea. However, both the tactics the Halkias family is using and the contempt they're showing for the area where they make their livelihood is pretty disgusting. I have a feeling CB 7 will take that into consideration.
Jan. 13, 2011, 10:15 am
Kayemtee from Downtown says:
Although their homemade schlocky TV commercials may have been very successful, these folks should have hired professionals in the public relations field before putting out this diatribe.

The plan for a hotel seems perfectly reasonable despite its height given that the street overlooks the expressway. More off street parking would also be welcome. But to make these thinly veiled threats is nothing short of offensive and outragous. What were they thinking? They may have shot themselves not just in the foot but right though the head.
Jan. 13, 2011, 10:33 am
Peter Engel says:
Kayemtee is completely right. You get what you pay for. I know PR professionals who've tried dealing with them. When they see what something costs, their attitude is "we don't need you. We can do that ourselves. Look at our commercials."
Jan. 13, 2011, 11:31 am
ch from ch says:
Grand —— Hall.
Jan. 13, 2011, 4:15 pm
ch from ch says:
G r a n d A s s h o l e H a l l
Jan. 13, 2011, 4:15 pm
Eileen from Park Slope says:
Elegant people?

The Halkias TV spots for Prospect Hall are among the tackiest on local cable.

Plus, the food they serve is inedible.
Jan. 13, 2011, 10:52 pm
Aristotle from Olympia says:
όχι! These people are related to me?
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:29 am
Jan from Park Slope says:
If they let black people into this hotel I will freaaaak out!
Jan. 14, 2011, 1:44 am
Paul from Prospect Heights says:
OMG Jan - grow up! Black people have every right to use this hotel. I don't care how much they smell, they are still people too. You might be a better person if you were a little darker you biatch!
Jan. 14, 2011, 1:45 am
lets from fort greene says:
jan/paul.....your comments are disgusting....everyone has a right to state their views but this is the kind of "RHETORIC" that gives way to hatred and horrific consequences...you have no idea what's like to be denied education, housing among other things...hoping that it never happens to you in this country or abroad. thanks kindly for listening.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:31 am
Scottilla from Midwood says:
Oh come on! Jan was telling a joke. Is there a copy of this flyer with the threat in it, or is that just made up?
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:14 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Subtlety isn't a strong point here, is it?
Jan. 14, 2011, 1:49 pm
Jill from Park Slope says:
Scottilla, I am asking the same thing. Where is this mysterious flyer that is supposedly circulating?!!
Jan. 14, 2011, 4:14 pm
Hector from Prospect Avenue says:
Michael acknowledged the flier, so is he acknowledging something made up Scottilla?

“It’s not a threat — it’s very simple math,” he said. “We are looking for Plan A. We are elegant people, and we want to compete at the same level as our competitors, who have sleeping space and parking.”
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:09 pm
Jill from Park Slope says:
Hector- this is the statement where they are getting "lowlife people" and supposed "threats" from? I am not seeing the connection. I'm sorry but the media can sometimes be misleading. For example: The reporter may have stated that "some people believe the whole idea may be some sort of a threat to the community"... and this may have been part of his reply. I don't know, just not buying in to this whole flier thing, not yet at least.
Jan. 18, 2011, 11:58 am
Jill from Park Slope says:
C'mon... people have dug up copies of top secret documents and they can't find a copy of a flier that was supposedly being circulated throughout the neighborhood freely??!! Sounds like Rumorville to me. Believe me, if this flier existed, it would have definitely been attached to one of the many articles online..instead of old images of the front building.
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:03 pm

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