In that year Michael and Alice Halkias, fresh from several real estate projects, bought the structure, optimistically renamed it Grand Prospect Hall and gradually reopened the rest of the building.After almost two decades and "millions of dollars," Mr.The Brooklyn Quartet Club, the Brooklyn Rifle Club and other organizations called the building home, with special rooms and storage areas for their papers.
And he lingered on the gilded lion heads encircling the ceiling dome that arches over the 10,000-square- foot space. Halkias, a real estate developer originally from Pittsburgh.
“The gardens outside have been brought inside to entice a visitor to come in and not go out again.
Prospect Hall burned down in December 1900, the morning after 3,000 Knights of Columbus met in the ballroom.
The hall was only partly insured, but distraught Kolle rebuilt it in 1903, making it bigger and better, with an exterior of light brick with limestone trim.
Halkias said, the work, mostly seat-of-the-pants preservation, is 90 percent finished. Halkias did not care about the original paint color and made no effort to uncover them.
"There's certain colors I like, vaudeville, happy colors--they come into my head," he said.
He pointed out the dolphins, bananas and acanthus flowers nesting in the intricate plasterwork, now painted Miami Beach melon, turquoise and yellow with gold-leaf highlights.
He explained the importance of the perfectly aligned boards in the octagonal wood floor, because ballroom dancers need to follow their pattern.
Originally a sort of Friar's Club for Brooklyn social gatherings (the borough's Rifle Club called it home), the building deteriorated with age until it was bought by the Halkias family in 1981.
Two decades of restoration have resuscitated its Disney-does-Hapsburg main ballroom, oak-paneled beer hall (where scenes from Prizzi's Honor and The Cotton Club were shot), roof garden and nine other spaces.
"When we started, it was a big white elephant with big ears that had to learn new tricks," Mr. "Now we attract people from Rome, Paris, all over." One possible strategy is to enlarge their sizable ballroom-dancing following and, in the couple's words, make the hall "the Roseland of Brooklyn." Doctrinaire preservationists might cringe over some of the changes, but over two decades the Halkiases' energy and distinctive vision have reclaimed Prospect Hall.