‘Windy City Rehab’ co-star meets with city, agrees to address problems
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Chicago officials met with a co-star of the reality TV show “Windy City Rehab” on Friday following a pair of stop-work orders and numerous complaints from neighbors about noise, trash and unsecured work sites.
A deputy commissioner and a supervising inspector from the Department of Buildings called for the meeting with builder Donovan Eckhardt of the HGTV show to “discuss permit and inspection issues and neighborhood concerns at some of his properties,” according to department spokesman Gregg Cunningham.
“He (Eckhardt) agreed to address and fully comply with outstanding permit and inspection issues. The DOB will continue to closely monitor their work to ensure they meet all code requirements and standards, as well as be a good neighbor for any current and future construction work they do,” Cunningham said.
In one case, the city discovered that one unit of a building Eckhardt had rehabbed was already sold and occupied — despite not ever having had a final inspection, Cunningham said. That project was not featured on television, he said.
The city requires projects to pass a rough inspection during construction and then pass a final inspection before people can move in.
The city also got Eckhardt, who runs Greymark Development Group, to pledge to fix any issues with damage or debris at neighboring properties, Cunningham said. He added that in the city’s view, it was a “productive” meeting and said Eckhardt “was cooperative and will address” all the issues.
Eckhardt did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The show, which was just renewed for a second season, follows designer Alison Victoria —whose full name is Alison Victoria Gramenos — and Eckhardt as they purchase, rehab and resell properties in hip neighborhoods on the North Side.
The show has legions of fans who’ve followed Victoria since her days on another popular show, “Kitchen Crashers” on the DIY Network.
But not all the buzz about “Windy City Rehab” has been positive. Some nearby residents contend the show hasn’t always been neighborly during construction.
Besides the trash and noise issues, messy mishaps have occurred.
At one property, a water line burst, flooding the house along with a neighbor’s basement. At another, exterior walls caved in during a rehab project.
City officials issued two stop-work orders in 2017 for doing work outside the scope of permits at one of the show’s projects at 1803 W. Wabansia Ave. in Bucktown.
Eckhardt defended the show in a phone interview with ABC7 this past week, saying, “We’re trying our absolute best to be the best neighbors we can. I understand it’s frustrating to live next to construction. But at the end of the day I think we’re doing really good work. I’m a neighbor. I live in Bucktown, and I’m proud to drive by every single home we’ve done.”