Nine has now confirmed purchasing the notorious Gatwick hotel in St. Kilda, as first tipped by TV Tonight, for a “future” season of The Block.
Producer Julian Cress has given a rare interview on future plans, due to the public interest in the site by local traders, residents and concern for the welfare of its vulnerable residents.
Cress said production would not begin until every single resident had found new accommodation. The Block would also assist homelessness charities in the wake of the sale, tipped at around $15m, either through cash donations or renovations.
“Everybody who’s been there will get an offer and opportunity to move into better accommodation than they’re used to,” he told Fairfax Media.
“I’ve spent a bit of time inside The Gatwick. I’ve met all the residents a couple of months ago. Anybody who’s seen inside there would agree with the [housing] minister Martin Foley, who said that it’s clear the Gatwick is an inappropriate place for people in the first place.”
The historic building has a history of bashings, overdoses and even murder inside its walls -but The Block has previously overcome notorious pasts with South Yarra’s Hotel Saville, site of a brutal rape by a self-proclaimed vampire gigolo, reborn as The Blocktagon.
Cress gave no comment on Nine’s pre-production for The Block 2017, now underway in Elsternwick, but the vote of confidence in a 2018 season before 2017 even debuts is very rare.