The future of the Grand Prospect Hall site in Park Slope has been revealed: A multifamily building is on the way.
PincusCo reported that George Rigas filed plans to build a 147-unit, 140,000-square-foot mixed-use building at 263 Prospect Avenue, where the famous banquet hall is being torn down. Its replacement will be five stories and 50 feet tall.
Features beyond the apartments include an exercise room, recreational spaces (including one on the roof) and below-ground parking. Hill West Architects is designing the project, according to PincusCo.
In July, Angelo Rigas purchased a 12-building assemblage that included Grand Prospect Hall for $30 million. At the time, plans for the site were not known, but the expectation was that the banquet hall would be razed to make way for a primarily residential building.
Things quickly became clearer, though. The following month, demolition permits were filed. An analysis by development software firm Gridics showed the Rigas family could fit 120,660 square feet of residential or office space under current zoning.
The filing outlining a 140,000-square-foot project suggests that Rigas calculated the number differently. It is not likely that a developer would seek a rezoning to add only 20,000 square feet to what is buildable as-of-right.
A last-minute campaign by local lovers of the Grand Prospect Hall to have it designated a landmark fell short in September. According to the Landmarks Preservation Committee, too many architectural changes had been made to the Brooklyn building since it opened in 1903. (Its predecessor was destroyed by fire.) And Angelo Rigas had already gutted the building’s interior.
The banquet hall had been revived by Michael and Alice Halkias, who bought it in 1981, added “Grand” to the name and renovated it into a resplendent venue. It entered pop culture during the husband and wife’s ownership: It appeared in local commercials, movies and even a “Saturday Night Live” parody. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
But keeping the banquet business profitable became a challenge, and the couple in 2011 planned to build an 11-story hotel next door. Some neighbors objected, and the project never materialized.
Grand Prospect Hall closed at the start of the pandemic and Michael Halkias died of Covid at age 82, leaving his widow little choice but to sell. The venue never reopened.
[PincusCo] — Holden Walter-Warner