Protesters fight to stop Grand Prospect Hall from being demolished

Brooklyn

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn — A grassroots effort to save an iconic venue hall in Park Slope is underway. 

The Grand Prospect Hall is at risk of being demolished by a new developer and activists have collected 8,000 signatures in 10 days to salvage the building. 

Husband and wife Michael and Alice Halkias purchased the building in 1981. Michael Halkias died last year at the age of 82 from COVID-19, which ultimately left Alice Halkias with the decision to sell the property. 

The opera tunes of their legendary commercial advertising for the event space instantly bring New Yorkers back to a certain point in time.

In the commercial Alice Halkias says, “We make your dreams come true!” The famous words are a classic line for the venue hall. 

It’s a happy memory for many, but soon that’s all it’ll be if immediate action isn’t taken. 

“This developer knew what he was doing,” Jim Glaser, an activist, said. “He knew how to sneak this thing through and rip out the guts.” 

The building was purchased for $22 million in June and with demolition permits filed, the four-story Victorian-style building, which served the community for four decades, will soon be torn down. 

Activists of all ages rallied outside the venue Monday recalling their favorite memories from inside ranging from weddings, to festivals, to Halloween parties. 

“It’s special in a way that most places aren’t for me,” 12-year-old Raya Ferholt-Wirz said. 

With the Statue of Liberty in the line of vision, activist Martin Bisi says it speaks to the hall’s role in the early immigrant experience. 

“The decor would remind immigrants of the grand theaters of particularly Eastern Europe,” Bisi said. 

Solya Spiegel, 16, is leading the effort to save the building and says it helped her learn more about herself. 

“I was adopted,” Spiegel said. “I was born in Hungary and I came here and this has been a place where I’ve been able to learn about my heritage.” 

They’ve gotten the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio — a former Park Slope resident — who is on board with at least saving the facade. 

“I certainly would love to see that happen,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to see what the city can do to make that happen.” 

If it doesn’t happen, the building — and the spirit of these activists— will be crushed, but they acknowledge that development is inevitable and they hope the developer at least leaves the building as a community space for the neighborhood. 

PIX11 reached out to the developer’s attorney and he declined to comment. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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