Luxury Apartment Building Set to Replace Grand Prospect Hall
By Yehudit Garmaise
Chandeliers and balconies will be replaced with a recreation space on the roof and an exercise room, now that Grand Prospect Hall, which stood at 263 Prospect Avenue for 118 years, is almost demolished and set to be transformed into a luxury residential building: complete with 147 apartments and 180 underground parking spaces.
The destruction of Grand Prospect Hall, which served as a beloved destination for many heimishe simchas, “is now in its final stages,” said artist Jim Glaser, an outspoken advocate of the building who reported what he saw from the roof of his building, which stands two blocks from the former hall.
After 82-year Michael Halkias, who bought the opulent, Victorian-era building with his wife Alice, in 1981, sadly passed away in May 2020, Angelo Rigas bought the space for $22.5 million, the New York Post reported.
Prospect Hall was first built in 1892 by local entrepreneur John Kolle, however after the building burned down in a fire in 1900, it was reopened in 1903 with its French Renaissance style that was designed by architect Ulrich J. Huberty.
Rigas, who is fourth owner of the property since 1903, has filed permits to replace wedding hall with a multi-family building that will likely be condos: based on the building’s square footage.
Rigas’ purchase was part of a $30 million deal that included 12 properties that sit on Prospect Avenue.
Although more than 40,000 locals signed a petition for the Victorian-era building to be declared a landmark, in August 2021, Rigas filed for the complete demolition of the building.
“Prospect Hall is probably the largest and best-preserved example of its type: the Victorian assembly hall set within a great ethnic community, remaining in the country,” the National Historic Registry said,
Many neighborhood residents, who say they are “deeply saddened” by the demolition of Grand Prospect Hall, hope that a new community space will be “designed in a style that would be reminiscent of the original Prospect Hall.”
Another idea, Glaser said, is to integrate style elements of Grand Prospect Hall into the new owner’s condo design plans, so that some of the building's design elements can be preserved.