Demolition of Grand Prospect Hall Temporarily Halted by Court Order

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The dream may live on yet.

A Kings County judge temporarily saved the Grand Prospect Hall from the wrecking ball on Wednesday, after issuing a restraining order halting demolition until after a Sept. 16 court date.

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The hearing will focus on whether developer Angelo Rigas can tear down the Park Slope building while it waits for a review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, The Brooklyn Paper reported. Rigas filed demolition permits for the property in July, prompting two Brooklyn teens to launch an online petition to save the hall — gaining nearly 10,000 signatures to date.

One of the Brooklynites, Solya Spiegel, 16, and three others filed a petition for the restraining order on Tuesday, arguing that the developer should stop demolishing the interior of the hall until Landmarks has reviewed the property. Spiegel and Toby Pannone, 18, launched the effort to save the historic banquet hall — known for its often parodied, low-budget TV commercials — earlier in August.  

At least four complaints have been filed with the New York City Department of Buildings, claiming workers were dismantling the building without permits posted, according to public records.

“[We] would be irreparably damaged should the demolition of the premises occur prior [to] the Landmark Preservation Commission’s assessment of the application,” Spiegel and the other concerned citizens’ petition to the judge read. “However, [Rigas] will not be harmed by a mere delay in its plans.”

Attorneys for Rigas argued that since the interior demolition permits have already been granted by the Department of Buildings, and because there is no Landmarks review date on the books, there’s no legal reason to stop the process, The Brooklyn Paper reported.  Landmarks and Rigas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Rigas told Gothamist that the interior fixtures of the hall were removed before Rigas took possession of the historic venue, and the developer claimed in an affidavit that the interior of the hall has already “been gutted down to the steel column and beams that support the building.”

“[Their] request is too late,” the affidavit read. It also claimed that the complaints against building construction were called in to delay work on the building. 

Local politicians have rallied in support of the hall as well. New York State Assemblymember Robert Carroll wrote to Landmarks in July, urging the organization to designate it as a landmark because of its cultural and architectural significance.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.