Is Alison Victoria, host of ‘Windy City Rehab,’ moving on from Chicago?
As the third season of the hit HGTV show continues, Victoria has taken on a more humble tone when it comes to profits — or lack thereof.
Could Alison Victoria Gramenos, star of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab,” be moving on from the Windy City?
In the first two episodes of the third season that aired recently, Victoria rehabs and sells the last two properties tied to her former business partner and co-host-turned-foe Donovan Eckhardt.
“My first priority right now is selling every single property I still own in Chicago,” she said in the season debut. The show continues Thursday night with a new episode
“Chicago is my city. But now I’m just focused on the best opportunities for me,” she added. “I don’t know where I’m going to end up. But I know this: I will be stronger in the end.”
What’s more, despite its title, the show is heading to new terrain. A teaser to a future episode shows Victoria working on a project in California. The furthest she previously ventured from her North Side stomping grounds — at least in the show — was Bridgeport.
It’s unclear if her comments and upcoming out-of-state episode means she no longer plans to rehab houses in her hometown or if she even still maintains a home here. Victoria sold her personal home in Bucktown last year and bought a condo in Atlanta recently.
A spokeswoman for Discovery Inc., which owns HGTV, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. Nor did Victoria’s attorney.
From big profits to no profits
Meanwhile, the first two episodes of the latest season show Victoria off to a humble — and perhaps more realistic — start.
The projects at 2222 and 2224 W. Ohio St., each purchased in 2019 for more than $500,000, sold for $1.5 and $1.45 million respectively.
One building was turned into a four-unit rental with pedestal sinks and custom kitchen islands. A giant globe light fixture was added to the entryway.
The building next door was torn down and turned into a six-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath single family home featuring stained glass and a fireplace decorated with a refurbished wooden mantel.
The show states that she spent nearly $1 million on renovations at each place, meaning she made no money in the transactions. But she spun that as a positive, noting problems getting loans and financing for the homes, as well as the bevy of issues on her other projects — including stop-work orders from the city and other troubles with homes she did with Eckhardt.
“This project is now just about doing everything we can to avoid a major loss for my investor,” Victoria says of the renovation at 2222 W. Ohio St.
The tone is a far cry from previous seasons where she boasted of sizable profits on rehabs, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Dan Zolkowski, a lifelong builder and carpenter based out of Chicago, said previously that anyone who watches the show should do so with a pinch of salt.
“No one knows if the numbers presented on the show are accurate,” he said. “My friends see these shows and are like, ‘They flipped that home and made $300,000 ... Dan, why don’t you do that?’ Well, I have done it, and I’ve never made so much. I think the numbers are a bit inflated.”
The show’s claims haven’t always held up, as was the case for a Lincoln Park home from the first season that the show initially claimed sold for $2.2 million. It turned out that showrunners reported the sale prematurely. The deal later fell apart. And the episode was later edited to reflect the final sales number of $1.6 million when a different buyer stepped in. The claimed $780,000 profit plummeted to $147,000. The show didn’t mention that the different buyer who saved the day was Victoria’s boyfriend.
Despite all the headlines the show has generated, at least one of her home buyers said she had no idea the home would be featured this season.
The physician, who asked not to be named, said in an interview that “Windy City Rehab” was never mentioned during the buying process.
Despite two small leaks in the home that she said were fixed under the home warranty soon after she noticed them, she has no complaints.
“We’re very happy with the house. It’s a very beautiful home. We get a lot of compliments,” she said.