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]
A rendering from Rafael Viñoly Architects website.
Back in September 2013, Rafael Viñoly Architects — best known locally for the Kimmel Center — announced that the firm would be handling the adaptive reuse of the Atlantic Building at Broad and Spruce, which was purchased by the Post Brothers in the summer of 2012 for $22 million. The plan was to turn the high-rise into a mixed-use retail/residential space, with construction by Vinoly & co. to begin at the end of last year.
While construction (or demolition, depending on your point of view) is under way — scaffolding went up more than a year ago, in fact — neither Viñoly nor the Post Brothers’ Matt and Mike Pestronk have been talking up the progress. Yet between the architect, the developer, the location, and the building, this is a major project. Why the quiet?
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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 »
Still from the commercial
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.
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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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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?”
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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.
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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.