HGTV’s ‘Windy City Rehab’ Gets Stop-Work Orders Lifted By Chicago

Bruce Haring

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HGTV’s Windy City Rehab stars Alison Victoria Gramenos and Donovan Eckhardt have resolved at least some of their differences with Chicago officials over code and permit violations.

The stars were blocked in mid-summer from filing new work permits by the city, which issued several stop-work orders. That put the series in jeopardy, since it focuses on restoring Chicago homes, as its title suggests.

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Eckhardt’s real estate developer and general contractor licenses were suspended by the Chicago Department of Buildings, That meant they couldn’t work on the properties in development, and finding new ones was futile.

Now, the city has apparently been satisfied on some aspects of the dispute, and some of the stop-work orders have been lifted. However, new work orders are still barred, dating back to the mid-summer suspension.

The issue was work performed without a permit, working outside of plans approved by the city without permission, either making a false statement on a permit or aiding someone in doing so, and permitting occupancy of a property before a city inspection.

Until all the issues are resolved, the Windy City team can only work on the buildings where the stop-work orders were lifted.

The show was greenlit for a second season before the stop-work orders went into effect. HGTV insists the show is still in production.

During the hiatus, Alison Victoria Gramenos appeared in the HGTV competition Rock the Block, which was won by Jasmine Roth.

EARLIER: The popular HGTV show Windy City Rehab is in trouble with Chicago officials over construction permits. If the disputes are not resolved, it could jeopardize the future of one of the highest-rated shows on the channel.

The city has suspended the construction permit privileges of series star Alison Gramenos, who goes by Alison Victoria on the show, and those of co-star and lead contractor Donovan Eckhardt.

The suspension notice for Gramenos’ various LLCs list allegations including performing or directing work without proper permits, making false statements on permit applications, and performing or directing “work that poses an immediate or imminent threat to the health and safety of workers or the public.”

The Chicago Department of Buildings also said it has suspended Greymark Development Group, owned by Eckhardt, from pulling permits in Chicago. The city also has applied to suspend the group’s licenses for one year. An appeal by Greymark and Eckhardt has already been denied. The city is still determining whether it will uphold the license suspension.

On Windy City Rehab, Victoria and lead contractor Eckhardt tackle the job of flipping houses in Victoria’s hometown of Chicago. Her focus is on vintage fixer uppers in historic neighborhoods that will attract high-end buyers.

Gramenos posted to Instagram today with her side of the story.

“I want you to hear it from me directly that I am working closely with the City of Chicago to repair and amend any and all permits with our new general contractors,” she wrote. “The building department says they are pleased with our efforts and we will continue to work closely together to move in the right direction.”

“Issues related to Windy City Rehab have been carefully reviewed,” HGTV said in a statement. “Appropriate parties are in communication with local building officials and working to resolve any outstanding issues.”

HGTV said at this year’s TCA that Windy City Rehab was its highest-rated freshman series in more than a year, which prompted the network to pick up 10 episodes for a second season.

Windy City Rehab, per HGTV, ranked as the No. 1 series for them in viewers P25-34 and is a top 10 cable program among women 25-54 in the Tuesday 9-10 p.m. ET/PT time slot. The first season drew 9.3M-plus viewers since it premiered on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at 9 pm ET/PT.

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