Vasilios Priskos, real estate developer who helped transform downtown Salt Lake City, lost his long battle with cancer on Monday, October 9 at age 53, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune. Priskos was born in Evia, Greece and was brought to the United States by his parents, Chris and Tula Prazikos Priskos, in 1966. The immigrant family lived in Salt Lake City, opening the Royal Eatery on the corner of 400 South and Main Street in a building once known as the New Grand Hotel. Priskos and his brother Deno later bought the building which was one of the many owned by Priskos and the company he founded and acted as principal broker for, InterNet Properties Inc.
Downtown Alliance Executive Director Jason Mathis noted last year, placing Priskos third on a modern list of the 25 People Who Helped Build Downtown, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, “Nobody knows more about the history of downtown structures and parcels than Vasilios Priskos. As a major landowner and deal-maker, his commitment to the urban fabric of our city is apparent in places like Whiskey Street [323 S. Main] and Caffe Molise [55 W. 100 South], both housed in buildings he owns.”
Priskos also helped transform The Salt Lake Tribune’s former office building at 143 S. Main into classrooms and living quarters for Neumont University students after the newspaper’s 2005 move to The Gateway shopping district.
He was the exclusive broker for the development of One/Main Plaza on the southeast corner of 100 South and Main Street. The 111 tower, adjacent to the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater, has about 200,000 square feet of office and retail space, as the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Priskos was praised by many in Salt Lake City. Among them, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski called Priskos a “partner and patron. … His work helped change the face of our city and his passion for culture brought us together each year through the Greek Festival, which he helped shepherd. As my friend, I also can’t help but describe Vasilios as an ally, someone who stood with everyone and truly appreciated the rich benefits of celebrating diversity — something that helped me and many others move forward,” as quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, “His steadfast commitment to a vibrant, successful downtown Salt Lake City made our community better.”
Visit Salt Lake President Scott Beck met Priskos in the 1980s, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, “when he was this handsome Greek guy dating the most beautiful girl in our high school.”
Over the past 20 years, Beck and Priskos have worked together on many projects downtown. Beck observed of Priskos, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, “he was as hard of a businessman and as vicious of a sales guy as I’ve ever dealt with. But I never saw Vasilios take a position that would be bad for the city but good for him. He was a civic-minded individual who was proud of the community he lived in. As good as downtown was for Vasilios, Vasilios was better for downtown.”
Steve Bogden, principal broker of Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors, said that in the real estate business, “we meet every variety of personality — greedy, mean, cold, uncaring, angry, selfish. Then it happens. Along comes someone like Vasilios . . . always a smile, a kind word, honest, helpful, and his integrity unparalleled,” as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Real estate agent Babs De Lay posted on Facebook about Priskos untimely death calling him “my friend, OUR friend in downtown,” and her “unofficial godfather” and noting, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, that “Salt Lake City has a huge hole in its heart and soul this morning with his passing.”
Darren Nord a classmate of Priskos’ at Skyline High School posted on Facebook that although Priskos due to his health issues could not attend the 35th reunion, he “offered to pay for any extra costs if we fell short in the budget. He told me to give everyone his best,” as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Priskos is survived by his widow, Shauna Bamberger Priskos, and sons Christian, Nico, Alexander, and Aristotle. A viewing is scheduled for Friday evening at Holy Trinity Cathedral and the funeral on Saturday, October 14.