The Gatwick Hotel will become home to The Block 2018
For the first time ever, producers of The Block have confirmed the 2018 location before the 2017 series has even begun.
The Gatwick Hotel has long been rumoured to be on the cards for a season of Channel 9’s renovation series The Block. With confirmation that the 2017 series will begin filming at the end of April on a currently empty lot located at 46 Regent St, Elsternwick, it was thought that speculation surrounding the Gatwick was done.
Speaking exclusively to Fairfax, The Block’s executive producer Julian Cress has confirmed that the network has purchased The Gatwick Hotel to be used for the 2018 series. Cress has said that they will not begin production at the hotel until all the current residents have been relocated into new accommodation.
“The Gatwick is a beautiful building. It’s got a lot of character. Unfortunately, it has fallen into disrepair. Internally, it’s really poor, but I think we can do a lot with that,” Cress said to Fairfax.
Fairfax noted that the hotel, which has been used as low-cost housing for years, has a dark and grim history of violence, drug overdoses and murder within its walls. This isn’t the first time The Block has chosen a property with a dark history, with the 2015 Blocktagon, formerly the Hotel Saville, being the site of a gruesome murder in 2002.
Cress also told Fairfax that The Block would assist homelessness charities either through cash donations or renovations after the sale was finalised on Monday, which was said to cost the company $15 million. He also admitted that the production team had been eyeing off the hotel for a few years but wanted to be sure that they could rehome the residents first.
“Everybody who’s been there will get an offer and an opportunity to move into better accommodation than they’re used to. I’ve spent a bit of time inside the Gatwick. I met all the residents a couple of months ago,” Cress told Fairfax.
Cress also pointed out to Fairfax how rare it was for him to be talking about a future location of the popular series. He said he felt compelled to speak up due to the growing concerns of its closure forcing the current residents out and putting more pressure on Melbourne’s housing and homelessness crisis.
“What we do internally, or [what we] create as a challenge for the contestants when they arrive [will surprise them], I acknowledge there's a lot of public interest in this,” Cress told Fairfax.
Get an update of The Block 2017 so far in our latest podcast episode
Image: Google maps November 2014