Matthew Pestronk: “We Followed the Rules”

Developer Matthew Pestronk, one-half of the Post Bros.–the company converting an old factory at 12th and Wood into the Goldtex Apartments–says he and his brother Mike did everything L&I told them to do before they held their VIP preview party last night at the building (for more on the party’s promotion, go here). It wasn’t a unique situation: Real estate developers often have previews of properties that aren’t entirely finished–hence the word “preview.” “There’s a body of compliance to get a temporary event permit,” said Matt today. “We spoke to L&I earlier in the week, and they assured us we got the permit. We did exactly what we were told to do.”

But when an L&I inspector came to the site at 4 p.m. yesterday, he told Matt, “L&I will not allow me to issue the permit.” The official reason Matt was given for the denial was the lack of a working fire protection system, but he said they’d addressed that. If a building does not yet have a sprinkler system, the people holding the event must have appropriate personnel on site to deal with fire emergencies. Matt says they did–“we take safety very seriously.”

As it happened, the L&I denial simply meant people couldn’t go inside the building, so the party was held outside in the courtyard. Most people didn’t seem to know it had been planned differently.

The Pestronks have had a brutal time with the building trades union, who have done everything they can to stop the brothers from getting this building finished with a mixed-labor force. We asked Matt Pestronk if he thought there might have been a connection between the L&I last-minute turnaround and the building trades. “Uh, yeah,” he said, with a disbelieving laugh, as if the question was preposterous. “They tried to use their influence to stop us from having an event.”

He’s not alone in thinking there might be some connection. Inga Saffron spoke with someone at L&I to try to figure out how things evolved.

I asked Kennedy who had filed the compaint, but she said L&I has a policy of not disclosing names. But I couldn’t help noting that the first person to sound the alarm was Frank Keel, the official PR guy for the Building Trades Council, whose triumphant email arrived in my inbox at 8:37 p.m. L&I “showed up” before the VIP party and “shut it down,” Keel’s email chortled. In a telephone interview, all he would own up to was that, “concerned citizens who have been by there, and seen the incomplete state of the building, reached out to L&I.”

The Post Bros. are planning to file a Freedom of Information Act request “to see how it went down,” Matt said. “We followed the rules.”

L&I Panty Raid at Post Bros. Goldtex Building [Changing Skyline]

The Brothers Who Busted Philly Unions. For Good. [Philly Mag]

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  • DutchEagle

    I think CK is gonna terrorize defenses with motioning and lining up DeSean all over the field. He was used kinda one dimensional in AR’s offense (take the top of defenses), but I’m guessing that’s not gonna be the case coming season. I’m psyched!

  • Michael Linebaugh

    Benn and Cooper will be battling for 1 roster spot

    • B-West

      I thought Cooper came on pretty well last year, personally. And his blocking was easily noticed, but that may have been due to Desean and Jeremy’s lack of blocking. I’d prefer to see Cooper stick around for one more year.

    • Septhinox

      I don’t think it will be between them. I think that while Avant has his value, he may very well find himself battling for a roster spot as he isn’t multidimentional. He definitely has value in his hands and routes, but is that enough?

      • theycallmerob

        The only other thing to consider is his value as a veteran/glue-guy. I know that gets overplayed a lot, but Howie continues to bring up the culture cliche. I wouldn’t want any rookies taking cues on blocking, route running, and toughness from “professionals” like Jackson and Maclin. If that indeed plays a role in decision-making, I would not be surprised to see Avant for 1 more year.

        • Septhinox

          Good points. Howie has made a point to emphasize that.

    • Magilacutty

      I’m thinking clay harbors spot if it’s not already going by way of james casey

    • CapeCodEagleFan


  • knighn

    I think much will depend on the kind of offense Chip Kelly implements. In college, the Ducks ran the ball far more than they passed the ball, so Kelly’s WRs had to run-block more than run routes or catch the ball. Weird concept, huh?

    It may come down to “Total Value” in Eagles Offense + Special Teams. If Kelly still prefers to go run-heavy, Benn & Cooper may have more value than Avant, but if Kelly is going to be more balanced or a little pass-heavy, Avant & Cooper may have more value. We’ll see.

    I think one or more of these guys is gone, either through cuts or trades (or both): Maclin, Avant, or Demaris Johnson.

  • atb124

    Demarious Johnson is the guy this move puts on the outside looking in, not Cooper or Avant.

    • Septhinox

      lol what? You mean the MOST versatile WR the Eagles have? Ok. lol

  • Wilbert M.

    I think Benn is viewed as a backup for Casey more than a traditional WR. He can play H-Back and block. I think he takes a roster spot from Havili or Polk.

    • jmkrav

      Thats a great point. At 220lbs, he’s not that much smaller than casey. at 6’2 and with our new “sports science” program, he could add 5-8 lbs pretty safely and be that WR/TE hybrid

      • Magilacutty

        His hands gotta get more consistent to be a solid option though. Good point, he’s a hybrid vigor

  • ICDogg

    Nice piece, Sheil.

    To me, Benn’s biggest issues have involved failing to catch the ball. He just doesn’t have great hands. I don’t know whether there’s something that can be done about that.

    • CapeCodEagleFan

      Barkley throwing only as hard a necessary…

  • Dutch

    although this kid has hands of stone he out plays Cooper who I anticipate will be moving on down the road soon. Realistically, I don’t see this kid making the team. McNutt and Johnson were talented enough to stick with the team and depending on their development may be tough to beat out.

    • Lukekelly65

      i think the WR battle in camp is going to be super interesting if you figure Jackson and Mac have their spots locked up that leaves 4 more spots maybe even 3 if we keep an extra TE (which kelly likes to do) so i could see Cooper making the roster because of his size and the flashes he showed last season. with Avant im not sure how well he fits in kellys scheme it seems to me that chip likes either big body wide outs or small speedy guys. Avant is very solid and a player i like alot but he seems to be stuck in between the two body types kelly likes one thing he does he going for him is that he is a hard worker and a good blocker so maybe he does fit but after that i think its to close to say i think Mcnutt and Benn offer some of the same things Mcnutt is bigger but i think Benn is the more talented guy… not to mention Damarius Johnson i think hes a perfect chip kelly type of guy but he might get lost in the numbers hopefully not though i like him as well.

    • CapeCodEagleFan

      cooper will be on the team this year, imho, above mcnutt and johnson…

  • dislikedisqus

    It looks like the Eagles have gone after a bunch of “fallen angels”, guys with high grades coming out of college who have underachieved. It’s obviously risky but there could be 1 Or 2 huge payoffs. I suppose it’s a kind of Moneyball strategy.

  • supamancam

    Nice work Sheil… I agree with the significance of this acquisition and think Benn has the potential to be a legitimate receiving threat when healthy. Coming out of college, Tampa obviously agreed too seeing as they drafted him in the 2nd round – 2 rounds ahead of Mike Williams their current starter. Don’t discount this guy as “depth” type player…. He is capable of developing into an Anquan Boldin type physical presence.

  • JofreyRice

    Wow, an all-22 breakdown for a guy we got for a 6th round draft pick. This is the kind of thankless, in-the-trenches dirty work that makes you an all-pro for Eagles analysis, Sheil. This should be a bullet point during contract re-negotiations with the organization!

    • Graham

      Ya I don’t know what the hell I’d be doing if I didn’t find this site…………. It has saved my off season along with MANY other eagles fans

    • CapeCodEagleFan

      you are going places sheil. Glad your on my eagles for now.

  • Trew

    You’all need to look at the Video of Been in College, he is a very versatile play who ran out of the backfield frequently in the read option.

  • Phils Goodman

    To reiterate the hands point, I noticed Benn body-caught a lot at Illinois. Obviously that works against him and mitigates his natural size advantage. If he hasn’t fixed it, that’s probably one of the main reasons the Bucs were willing to give him away.

  • atlvickfan

    If he can get open in the red zone, that would be a HUGE plus.

  • Blaise

    Benn is our Boldin. GoEagles!