Until they were fired last March, Raymond Roberson and Lamar Love were maintenance workers for Rittenhouse Hill, a Germantown apartment complex owned and operated by Michael and Matthew Pestronk, aka the Post Brothers, the developers who have made news thanks to their ongoing disputes with Philadelphia’s unions. And now Roberson and Love, both of whom are African American, are taking their former employers to court. Read more »
The union siege against the Post Brothers continues, and it just gets more surreal. For Halloween, IBEW Local 98 is releasing a commercial “featuring a ‘ghostly’ cartoon version of John J. Dougherty” to promote its film about the Post Brothers’ Goldtex Apartments. The commercial also has another goal: “taking time to remind parents to check their kids’ Halloween treats before allowing them to eat them.”
That’s such a bizarre pairing of agendas, we don’t even know what to say.
The commercial will air tonight during the Flyers game (know your audience — that’s lesson No. 1) and will terrify and confuse children watching “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on Halloween on ABC. It’ll also air, according to the press release, on AMC, Comedy Central, ABC Family, FX, SPIKE and SYFY.
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.
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.
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?
A few days ago, Matthew Pestronk, one of the two principals of the development company Post Brothers, called to tell us that almost every day there are men with videocameras outside of Rittenhouse Hill, one of the Post Brothers’ many developments. He claimed the men are members of IBEW Local 98, the electricians’ union. “They’re taping female residents coming in and out of our properties and making them very uncomfortable,” he said. “What does that have to do with anything?”
The Post Bros.–the development company most well known for its clash with the building trades unions at the Goldtex building at 12th and Wood–had to change the date of their Backyard Bash to promote new features at Rittenhouse Hill apartments. The fun happens this week instead, as advertised on this poster which, for them, is practically virginal.
The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the Post Bros.’ Goldtex Apartments building on 12th and Wood in Callowhill has now officially started the move-in process for renters, despite all the conflict between the developers and the labor unions that opposed the site’s mixed-labor approach to construction. The conflict got so out of control, it became a symbol for everything in the city that’s wrong with union control of the construction industry, prompting columnists like the Inquirer’s architecture critic Inga Saffron to offer a strong rebuke of the current state of affairs.
Fortunately, the developers, Michael and Matthew Pestronk, were able to get the building renovated and into shape for initial renters, though the 11-story building is still under construction in parts.
Natalie Kostelni writes:
If all goes as planned, its 163 units will be fully completed by the fall. Rents range from $1,500 for studios to $3,500 for three-bedroom units. A penthouse, which sits adjacent to the workout room, roof-top pool and outdoor lounge area will go for in excess of $5,000.
As for other stories this morning, we’ve got some more depressing news about the building collapse, Saffron on the firehouse, and a Paris real estate death match. Enjoy!
• Joey Sweeney offers a sad meditation on the latest building collapse clusterfrack of news over at philebrity. ”The more we learn about this whole thing, the more we realize that darkness surrounded this whole thing…”
• Inga Saffron covers the possible demolition of Engine 46, the historic firehouse on Reed Street by Riverview movie theater. Says neighborhood activist James Moyland: ”But if they say that they’re knocking it down for a parking lot, that makes my head explode.”
• Which $40 million home to buy? The mansion “with a empiric Old World staircase at its heart” or the townhouse with “light-filled interiors that can make your heart stop”? Curbed’s Paris death match may help decision-making.
A blog entry from the Llenrock Group, a local real estate advisory/investment banking firm, dubs the Post Bros. company “Schlemiel of the Week.” For those who aren’t up on their Yiddish, here’s the definition from the Yiddish Slang Dictionary:
a clumsy, inept person
This is similar to the word “klutz”, but rather than coming from German, comes from the Hebrew word שלא מועיל (shlemil) meaning “ineffective”.
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.”