About the Prince George Ballroom
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Built in 1904 with an addition in 1912, The Prince George Hotel was a key fixture in the vibrant Madison Square neighborhood, with prominent guests such as playwright Eugene O’Neill. The hotel was designed by architect Howard Greenley in the Beaux Arts style, and had many classical and Neo-Renaissance flourishes. Its ground floor included grand common areas including the Ladies’ Tearoom, the English Tap Room, the Hunt Room, and a spacious lounge that would later become The Prince George Ballroom.
For decades, The Prince George Hotel and its restaurants were favorite gathering places. Even in the 1960s, well past its heyday, the hotel continued to draw middle-class tourists visiting New York. But as tourism experienced a steep decline in the 1970s, The Prince George, along with many smaller New York City hotels, lost its grandeur.
With the rise in homelessness in the 1980s, private hotels, including The Prince George, began accepting contracts from New York City to house homeless families. During this period, 1600 homeless women and children occupied The Prince George, in conditions that rapidly deteriorated into squalor and danger. In 1989, after years of chaos, families were moved out by court order and the hotel was closed, remaining vacant for nine years.
In 1996, Common Ground acquired The Prince George Hotel, and with the help of government agencies and corporate partners, transformed the building into permanent supportive housing for homeless and low-income single adults. In 2005, Common Ground completed the restoration of the 5,000 square-foot Prince George Ballroom and adjacent former Hunt Room. In partnership with non-profit groups Alpha Workshops, Parsons School of Design, Brooklyn High School of Preservation Arts and Youthbuild, the Neo-Renaissance ballroom was completed as a design-build project by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects. A volunteer committee working with Common Ground raised the $1.5 million restoration budget from private individuals, foundations and government agencies focused on job training and preservation.
The Prince George Ballroom, as well as the adjacent Ladies’ Tea Room and World Monument Fund Gallery are now event spaces available for rental with proceeds supporting the expansion of Common Ground’s housing development work.