Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall, best known (and lampooned) for its 1986 televised promise to “make your dreams come true,” has closed and sold for $22.5 million, city records show.
A love-it-or-hate-it, long-running 1986 television commercial for the wedding venue acquired a cult following, which swelled to a frenzy when Jimmy Kimmel re-did the commercial with Mets player Pete Alonso in 2019.
“If you live in New York and if you’ve ever owned a television, you’ve probably seen these commercials for a big wedding venue called Grand Prospect Hall,” Kimmel said. “The commercials are wonderful, but they’ve been running the same ones for like, 125 years, so it seemed like time to freshen them up. And the best way to make a good local commercial into a great local commercial is to add a prominent local athlete to the mix.”
A February 2019 episode of “Saturday Night Live,” featuring host Don Cheadle, also spoofed “everything shiny” and “dusty sconces” in a fake 3½-minute commercial for the “regal” wedding spot.
The hall’s long-promoted phone number, 718-888-0777, has been disconnected, and their website has been shut down, The Post found.
The former owners, Michael and Alice Halkias, purchased the building in 1981 and owned it for four decades. Michael died of the coronavirus at age 82 in May 2020. Their daughter, Josephine Halkias-Tsarnas, did not respond to a request for comment from The Post.
“My husband had a great vision the moment he walked into the doors … He saw the staircase, which was painted white at the time, and he started jumping and said, ‘I have to buy this building and fix it for New York to enjoy it … I have to do it. Brooklyn needs this building,'” Alice Halkias told BuzzFeed after her husband’s death.
The four-story Victorian-era building had only three — now four — owners in its 118-year history, according to records kept by the National Register of Historic Places.
The building went under contract on May 11, closed on June 24 and was recorded on July 14, according to New York City property records. Future plans for the site are unknown.
The transaction was part of a $30 million-plus, 12-property purchase on Prospect Avenue between Fifth and Sixth avenues by Gowanus Cubes LLC, as first reported by PincusCo Media, a New York City-based publication founded by “The Real Deal” alum in 2019.
Angelo Rigas signed for the transaction. Rigas is the name of the president of ARC Electrical & Mechanical Contractors Corp., which has built residential towers, houses, psychiatric facilities, hospitals and schools, according to their website. The Post also reached out to Rigas and Gowanus Cubes LLC’s attorney Oben Ben-Ami, neither of whom replied to a request for comment.
The historic building
The buff-gray, brick exterior features sheet metal ornament to imitate limestone, according to records. Storefronts with stained glass windows on the ground level are separated by an ornamented cornice. Above are 10 sets of windows, three of which are topped by triangular pediments, photos show.
The main entrance is flanked by Roman columns and is topped with a white awning that reads “The Grand Prospect Hall” in an almost identical font to the one used on the original awning.
Inside the double glass doors is an ornate lobby where a butterfly staircase leads to twin box offices on the first landing before splitting into two staircases ascending to the main ballroom.
The ballroom spans the upper three stories of the building. The ceiling is in a flat tray with a dome, from which one of three grand chandeliers hangs.
It was originally designed as a theater with balconies and galleries on three sides. The balconies are supported by marble columns and ornamented with fruit garlands and bows. The theater featured German folk music, vaudeville performances, national entertainers, boxing matches and professional wrestling.
The building was finished in 1903 by Ulrich J. Huberty after a previous hall on the site burned down in 1900. It was owned — and rebuilt — by John Kolle, who hosted German immigrant community organizations.
“By providing a place for native-language entertainment, dining and active recreation, as well as a facility for masonic lodges, singing societies and other ethnic cultural organizations, buildings like Prospect Hall became bridges between the old country and new, welcoming and easing the experience of strangers in a new homeland,” says a National Historic Register record from 1999.
Kolle sold it in 1940 to the White Eagle Hall Company, a Polish-American organization that used it “in its original fashion for another generation,” according to the record. White Eagle lost the property to foreclosure in 1981, and Halkias purchased it on Nov. 4, 1981, city property records show.
“Prospect Hall is probably the largest and best-preserved example of its type, the Victorian assembly hall set within a great ethnic community facility, remaining in the country,” according to the National Historic Registry.
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