Is ‘Windy City Rehab’ Host Alison Victoria Leaving Chicago?
Alison Victoria Gramenos, star of ‘Windy City Rehab’ on HGTV, could she leave the Windy City?
In the first two episodes of the third season that aired recently, Victoria rehabilitates and sells the last two properties linked to her former business partner and co-host turned enemy Donovan Eckhardt.
“My first priority right now is to sell every property I still own in Chicago,” she said at the start of the season. The show continues Thursday evening with a new episode
“Chicago is my city. But now I only focus 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.
Plus, despite its title, the show is heading into new ground. A teaser for a future episode shows Victoria working on a project in California. The furthest she’s ventured before from her North Side stomping grounds — at least in the show — was Bridgeport.
It’s unclear if her comments and the upcoming out-of-state episode mean she no longer plans to rehab homes in her hometown or if she even still maintains a home here. Victoria sold her personal home in Bucktown last year and recently purchased a condo in Atlanta.
A spokeswoman for Discovery Inc., which owns HGTV, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Neither did Victoria’s lawyer.
Big profits to no profit
Meanwhile, the first two episodes of the final 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 million and $1.45 million, respectively.
One building has been transformed into a four-unit rental with custom pedestal sinks and kitchen islands. A giant globe light has been added at the entrance.
The building next door was torn down and turned into a six-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath single-family home with stained glass windows and a fireplace decorated with a refurbished wood mantle.
The show says she spent nearly $1 million on renovations at each location, meaning she didn’t make any money from the deals. But she called it a positive, noting problems getting loans and financing for the homes, as well as the slew of issues on her other projects, including city stop work orders and others. problems with the houses she encountered with Eckhardt.
“This project is now about doing everything we can to avoid a major loss to my investor,” Victoria says of the renovation at 2222 W. Ohio St.
The tone is a far cry from previous seasons where she boasted huge drug rehab profits, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Dan Zolkowski, a longtime Chicago-based builder and carpenter, previously said anyone watching 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 say, ‘They flipped that house and made $300,000…Dan, why don’t you do this? Well, I did, and I’ve never won so much. I think the numbers are a bit inflated.
The show’s claims didn’t always hold up, as was the case for a Lincoln Park home in season one that the show originally claimed for $2.2 million. It turns out that the showrunners flagged the sale prematurely. The deal then fell apart. And the episode was later edited to reflect the final $1.6 million in sales when another buyer stepped in. The claimed profit of $780,000 dropped to $147,000. The show did not mention that the other buyer who saved the day was Victoria’s boyfriend.
Despite all the headlines the show generated, at least one of her homebuyers said she had no idea the house would be featured this season.
The doctor, 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 house which she says were fixed under the house warranty shortly after noticing them, she has no complaints.
“We are very satisfied with the house. It is a very nice house. We get a lot of compliments,” she said.