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New apartments set to rise at Grand Prospect Hall site as construction permits are filed

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The Grand Prospect Hall, pre-scaffolding.
Photo by Susan De Vries

Dreams, desecrated!

Grand Prospect Hall, the iconic Park Slope banquet hall that made Brooklyn’s dreams come true for decades, will soon be redeveloped into a 5-story mixed-use building, featuring 147 residential units, according to newly filed building permits first reported by The Real Deal.

The building has housed Grand Prospect Hall on Prospect Avenue since the late 19th century, and was a popular spot to socialize for Brooklyn’s upper crust in the early 20th century before falling into disrepair for decades. It was purchased in the 1980s by Michael and Alice Halkias, who sought to restore it to the splendor of its heyday.

And restore it they did: the hall, and the Halkiases, became New York legends owing to their famous and ubiquitous television commercials where they promised to “make your dreams come true.” The banquet space, decorated in garish, ornate ornamentation often found at liquidation sales or in the trash, hosted countless weddings, bar mitzvahs, proms, sweet sixteens, and other spectacular soirees for several generations of Brooklynites, who came to cherish the hall.

The building had been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, with no plans to reopen after the death of Michael Halkias from COVID-19, when it was sold last summer for $22.5 million to developer Angelo Rigas, under the LLC Gowanus Cubes, as part of a massive deal that included several other properties on the block.

The former Grand Prospect Hall as it stands on Feb. 2, 2022Photo by Ben Brachfeld

After Brooklyn Paper first reported that Rigas intended to demolish the exemplary edifice, locals launched a campaign seeking to landmark the structure: while it was on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999, it was not a local landmark, which could have saved it from the wrecking ball. The campaign to landmark the structure gained significant momentum, including support from then-mayor and current-Park Slope drifter Bill de Blasio, but Rigas quickly gutted the historic building’s swanky interior soon after gaining the relevant demolition permits, even as he awaited permits to demolish the exterior structure.

Ultimately, the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark status to the building, citing extensive changes to the building’s exterior throughout the twentieth century, clearing the way for Rigas to demolish the building.

The new building is set to contain 147 residential units in about 140,000 square feet of space; New York YIMBY says that based on the average unit size calculation of 955 square feet, the residences will likely be condominiums. The building will also have enclosed space for 180 parking spots. The new building will be designed by Hill West Architects, per the permit filings.

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