Judge pauses Grand Prospect Hall demolition

Local activists have until Sept. 16 to convince city to landmark building

Grand Prospect Hall at 263 Prospect Avenue in Brooklyn (Google Maps)
Grand Prospect Hall at 263 Prospect Avenue in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

Local activists hoping to save the Grand Prospect Hall from demolition scored a small win in their battle against time.

On Wednesday, a Kings County judge granted a temporary stay preventing local developer Angelo Rigas from demolishing the former Park Slope banquet hall until at least Sept. 16. In the meantime, the activists hope to persuade the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the ballroom, which would complicate, though not rule out, Rigas’ plans.

“The order and stipulation of yesterday gave us at least a couple weeks — 16 days or so — to really push with the landmark board and see where we get with that. I’m hopeful that we can do all we can to save at least the façade of Grand Prospect Hall,” said Jessica Breuer, the activists’ attorney.

Rigas, whose attorney didn’t respond to request for comment, has already gutted much of the interior, removed the canopy and erected a sidewalk shed outside.

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Patch first reported the order.

Rigas purchased the Brooklyn ballroom — which dates to 1892 — and 11 nearby properties in July for $30 million. Soon after, he filed plans to tear down the building, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999.

The initial complaint was filed by four local activists including Solya Spiegler, whose Change.org petition to landmark the building has gathered nearly 10,000 signatures.

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Spiegler and Toby Pannone, the petition’s co-author, filed a request for evaluation with the Landmarks panel, but the Department of Buildings doesn’t factor such requests into its deliberations. It will only weigh a pending Landmarks decision if the preservation agency officially calendars the building for consideration.