Developer Vasilios Priskos, who helped make downtown Salt Lake City what it is, dies at 53

(Courtesy Photo) Vasilios Priskos.

Vasilios Priskos, an immigrant who helped shape the development of downtown Salt Lake City through his extensive real estate holdings, died Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Priskos came to the United States in 1966, two years after being born in Evia, Greece, to Chris and Tula Prazikos Priskos. The family settled in Salt Lake City and opened the Royal Eatery restaurant in a building on the corner of 400 South and Main Street, formerly known as the New Grand Hotel, that Priskos and his brother, Deno, later bought.

More recently, he exercised his influence on that block as the exclusive broker for the development of One/Main Plaza on the southeast corner of 100 South and Main Street. Adjacent to the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater, the 111 tower has nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail space.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski called him 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.”

For the past 20 years, they’ve worked together on a number of projects affecting downtown, interactions that prompted Beck to observe “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.”

Steve Bogden, principal broker of Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors, said that in a crazy business like real estate, “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.”

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