Photo by Ben Weldon for Philadelphia Magazine
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Matt Pestronk — one half of the development team the Post Brothers — is taking pleasure in witnessing the legal difficulties faced by the Ironworkers union. He hasn’t said anything of the kind. But given his own struggles with the building trades, he can’t be unmoved by recent developments.
After all, his own business is still hampered by ongoing legal entanglements with the unions, which he talks about here with WPHT’s Dom Giordano:
Dom Giordano Talks With Real Estate Developer About Alleged Union Harassment [CBS Philly]
Photo: Liz Spikol
Tonight there’s a rooftop party at the Goldtex apartments at 12th and Pearl streets in Callowhill. Like other Post Brothers jawns, it has a quirky title: “Do Not Rent Here” — a provocative first sentence the buildings trades would likely agree with — followed up by “You’ll Never Want to Leave.”
The event is meant to showcase “Goldtex’s state-of-the-art amenities and its class-leading green living experience.” Attendees can tour one- and three-bedroom apartments, or just enjoy free food and drink served up by Cafe Lift/Buffad Pizza, and listen to DJ DSC of Hair O’ The Dog fame.
Mike Pestronk, one of the two owners of Post Brothers Apartments, which developed Goldtex, said they’d been asking L&I for an event permit for more than a month, and were still waiting for it to come through as of early this morning. Matt Pestronk said, “If they don’t give it to us, it’s because they’re corrupt.”
Fortunately for the success of the event, the permit did come through around 11 a.m.
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This week IBEW released a documentary about the Post Brothers made by 9.14 Pictures. The press conference to debut the film had some entertaining costumes and speeches by many of the talking heads in the film, including City Councilmen Jim Kenney and Mark Squilla; John Dougherty; Pat Gillespie; and others. Laura Kicey took some photos, below.
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A screen shot from the union film with at least one entirely accurate statement.
Two press releases came across the transom just now.
Headline No. 1: “Philadelphia Building Trades To Premiere Video Documentary Exposing Major Health and Safety Violations at Post Brothers’ Goldtex Apartments.”
Headline No. 2: “Johnny Doc-umentary”
Both refer to a film being shown Wednesday, Oct. 2, at IBEW Local 98 Union Hall at 10:15 a.m. The film’s formal title is Deconstructing Post Brothers: Exposing the Truth Behind the Cheap Facade, and the screening will be followed by a press conference with…
local elected officials and labor leaders, including Congressman Bob Brady, State Representative Bill Keller, City Councilmen Jim Kenney and Mark Squilla, Building Trades Business Manager Pat Gillespie and IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John J. Dougherty, among others.
Below, the film itself and the press release from the Post Bros. in response to the film’s release.
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Pardon the informality of the headline, but this simply cannot be believed. Philadelinquency spotted a post on Philadelphia Speaks in which forum member fiveomar described an interaction at 20th and Chestnut with a “union goon” (now, that’s not nice) who was handing out anti-Post Brothers fliers. According to fiveomar, the fliers included “some pretty ridiculous claims about the Post Brothers storing and smuggling heroine [sic] and cocaine.”
We have tried to maintain some degree of objectivity here, but if the building trades are now painting Matthew Pestronk as Pablo Escobar, that has to be the last straw. What’s next? Mike Pestronk is actually Walter White?
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Wendy Salzman at 6 ABC filed a report yesterday on the newly renovated and rebuilt Goldtex apartment building at 12th and Wood. Developed by the Post Brothers, the building was the site of a fierce battle between the building trade unions and the company, which chose to use both union and non-union labor for the construction and renovation. Though the building is still partially under construction, tenants have moved in and Licenses & Inspections has approved temporary occupancy of the eighth floor.
Action News sent a reporter in with a hidden camera to see what the units with lofts are like. The lofts have pull-down stairways that, when extended, block the door to the apartment. According to L&I, the lofts are approved as utility spaces, not living spaces, but a Goldtex sales rep tells the undercover reporter that the loft can be used as a bedroom with a twin or double bed. This, says Post Bros. co-owner Mike Pestronk, is an error on the rep’s part, as is a listings photo that portrays the loft as a living space. The photo below is from a Craigslist ad shows a loft space as rather inhabited.
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Yesterday there was a lot of union activity from the organized laborers of the area. Not long ago, we wrote about the latest in a long line of volleys between the Post Brothers–developers and managers of numerous buildings in the city–and building trade unions, which have been largely absent from the Post Bros.’ work sites (except as protesters).
The most recent dustup came when Post Brothers co-owner Matthew Pestronk told us residents were being videotaped by members of Local 98 as they walked in and out of Rittenhouse Hill, a Post Brothers property. Initially, Local 98 spokesperson Frank Keel was skeptical of the claims, but after seeing photos of the men involved, he conceded it was, indeed, union members–but they were only there for one day and only to monitor the placement of their protest signs on the lawn.
Subsequently, Pestronk sent us photographs of guys with videocameras outside the residence date marked from several different months of this year and last, suggesting it was not, in fact, a one-day union project.
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