‘Windy City Rehab’ returns Sept. 15 despite trouble with city, neighbors, pandemic
Despite problems with neighbors, buyers, City Hall and coronavirus as well as a blamefilled breakup between its home-flipping hosts, the reality TV show “Windy City Rehab” will be back for Season 2 next month, Discovery Inc.’s HGTV said Tuesday.
HGTV said Chicago designer Alison Victoria Gramenos — who goes by just Alison Victoria as she buys, rehabs and flips homes — will appear in five new 90-minute episodes premiering 8 p.m. Sept. 15.
And it sounds like Gramenos’ problems will be part of the TV drama. The network said the star “could lose it all” as she faces “multiple unexpected challenges.”
Two couples who bought luxury homes in Lincoln Square and Bucktown in Season 1 ended up suing Gramenos and her then-contractor/co-host Donovan Eckhardt, accusing them of shoddy construction and demanding their money back.
Gramenos accused the Bucktown buyers of filing a “misleading and baseless” suit to try to bully her into settling out of court. Their court fight remains unresolved.
Chicago’s buildings department issued stop-work orders at several of Gramenos’ and Eckhardt’s worksites and at one point suspended the contractor’s license of Eckhardt, who owns Greymark Development Group.
His license got reinstated, but the city is continuing to pursue administrative cases against Gramenos and Eckhardt and has barred them from getting any new building permits. They “and any and all business entities owned by either of them are still suspended from submitting permit applications on any new properties, and all associated court cases are still active,” a City Hall spokesman said Tuesday.
Separately, a north suburban man and his family who said they invested $3 million in the properties being rehabbed have sued Gramenos and Eckhardt, accusing them of running “a deliberate and fraudulent scheme to misappropriate funds,” “bungling” and gross mismanagement of “nearly every project they were associated with.”
Amid the accusations, Gramenos said last year of Eckhardt, the man she once called her “work husband,” that she did “not want him to f--- with my life or business any more than he already has.”
HGTV said that, on Season 2, “as Alison continues her work to transform historic fixer-uppers, she must manage a strained business relationship, contend with permit delays and battle stop-work orders. During the season, unprecedented setbacks put the skilled designer’s reputation and livelihood on the line, but Alison loves her city and won’t give up without a fight.”
The network quoted Gramenos, who has cohosted another HGTV series this summer, as saying her work in Chicago “has tested me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.”
Alison Victoria Gramenos’ “Windy City Rehab” will be back for Season 2 on HGTV starting Sept. 15.