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Who is Donovan Eckhardt from ‘Windy City Rehab’?

Co-host Donovan Eckhardt has been mostly absent during the HGTV series’ second season, leaving fans to wonder more about Alison Victoria’s general contractor — where he came from and where he went.

Photo illustration: General contractor Donovan Eckhardt (foreground), who has been embroiled in legal battles with his former partner and cohost of the HGTV show ‘Windy City Rehab.’ In the background, a property Eckhardt renovated with former partner Alison Victoria.
Illustration by Alice Bazerghi/Sun-Times

Season two of the HGTV reality show ‘Windy City Rehab’ is well underway, and fractures in the relationship between co-hosts Alison Victoria and Donovan Eckhardt are noticeably deepening. Eckhardt has hardly been seen on any of the season two episodes, leaving fans to wonder more about Eckhardt — where he came from and where he went.

Eckhardt grew up in the northwest suburb of Arlington Heights. His dad, Ted, is an architect and started his own architecture and construction business. Eckhardt went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture.

After graduating from U. of I. in 2004, Eckhardt joined the family business, according to his LinkedIn page. In 2013, Eckhardt struck out on his own and launched Greymark Development Group. Lawsuits filed against Eckhardt related to “Windy City Rehab” indicate that Greymark Development Group was the company he conducted business under for the HGTV show.

The relationship between Victoria (whose real name is Alison Gramenos) and Eckhardt goes back to at least 2015. A post on his Instagram page shows him and Victoria grinning together after completing a renovation in Bucktown that year. It’s unclear if the Bucktown house in the photo is the same one that was featured on the show, whose owners later sued Eckhardt and Victoria.

Eckhardt and his wife, Erica Eckhardt, got married in 2012 and have two daughters. They currently live in Chicago.

His favorite article of clothing is definitely a vest — so much so that Eckhardt was involved with a now-defunct Illinois non-profit called Vest Fest, which hosted an annual vest-themed charity event from 2012-2015.