The Block 2017 eyeing the Gatwick Private Hotel in St Kilda
Is $11 million too high a price tag?
With the 2016 season having successfully concluded, the pressure is on for the producers of The Block to find a site for next year's show. Now a contender has emerged for the Channel Nine favourite: the Gatwick Private Hotel at 34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.
TV Tonight reports that it understands that the 64-room building is under consideration by producers. The site is currently run as a low-cost boarding house, and has a mixed reputation amongst locals, with reports of regular visits by police.
One sticking point is likely to be the price, currently thought to be around $11 million. That's expensive, given that the total sale price of the finished apartments by contestants in this year's edition was $12 million - and that was after they were renovated. While the network will make most of its money from advertising, it can't afford for site costs to be too high.
In recent years, The Block has increasingly looked to work at unusual locations, rather than converting similar terrace houses as it did in earlier years. This year's edition took place at the former Velvet Soap Factory, while last year's Blocktagon converted the Saville Hotel, famous for a series of attempted vampire murders.
While the first two series of The Block were filmed in Sydney, the show has been based in Melbourne since its 2010 reboot. The production has a friendly relationship with several Melbourne councils, which is a crucial factor when you want to block a street with TV and renovation crews for an extended period.
A deal will also need to be struck soon. The Block is a vital element in Channel Nine's schedule as one of its highest-rating shows, and in order to broadcast in the latter half of the year, production will need to begin by April.
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Picture: Google Street View