The Block set for February filming at Gatwick Hotel
Tradies have been sweating on site at the Gatwick Hotel all summer to ensure the notorious rooming house is structurally sound for The Block filming to begin next month.
The show’s executive producer Julian Cress says the new season, to hit screens in 2018, involves the biggest construction project the show has undertaken.
“We’ve been working on it already (for a couple of months) and we’re going all the way through until February, and that’s just to get the building ready for the renovations that the contestants are going to take on,” he says.
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“It’s certainly as an exciting a project that we’ve done on The Block, but it’s a daunting one and we’re praying for some good weather … to get us to the starting line in February.”
Plans for a total of eight apartments, including two with two bedrooms and six with three, were approved by Port Phillip Council last year.
The Block’s vision for the site also includes construction of a new level on the rooftop for two apartments, six car spaces and “winter garden” style balconies on the first two floors.
A new main entrance from Loch St will reuse some internal heritage materials from the long-running rooming house, which could include panelling and balustrades.
WBP Group executive chairman Greville Pabst says there is the potential to capitalise on stunning views of the bay and city.
“All of Middle Park and Albert Park is heritage listed with height controls, so you could look back at city with uninterrupted views,” he says.
Advantage Property Consulting director Frank Valentic says the project is destined to be a success on the market because of its blue chip location.
“The main thing that drives property value and attractiveness is location and that end of Fitzroy St used to be Paris end … so I think that will return,” he says.
“It’s next to the beach and you’ve got Luna Park, Acland St and Albert Park Lake nearby. It’s as AAA and as blue chip as it comes.”
Valentic says only The Block season in O’Grady St, Albert Park, has enjoyed a better location on the show.