The Block
"The Block" season 13 starts filming next month, with the airing scheduled for sometime in the second half of the year. Facebook/The Block

One of Australia’s biggest renovation series, “The Block,” is scheduled to return in the second half of the year, with filming set to begin next month. But as early as now, the show is already shaping up to be one of Channel Nine’s most expensive and exciting seasons.

According to Mail Online, trucks and a construction removal crew were already on hand at Melbourne’s Elsternwick last week. The publication went on to state that it seemed as if two rundown houses were being placed on a vacant property. As of March 17, the property was already being fenced and the foundation was already being laid out.

It was also estimated that the lot cost Nine around US$10 million (AU$13.1 million). But while this is a hefty sum, it is still not the network’s biggest investment for the show. According to Fairfax Media (via the Sydney Morning Herald), a total of AU$15 million was spent in the acquisition of Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne.

Last year, it was already being rumoured that the show would use the Gatwick property, which was the site of four murders including that of 34-year-old Arthur Karatasiosis. Executive producer Julian Cress told the publication that filming there would not begin until the property’s residences had found alternative living arrangements.

"Everybody who's been there will get an offer and opportunity to move into better accommodation than they're used to," Cress told the publication. "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."

Furthermore, he also added that “The Block” would assist homeless charities following the sale, whether by cash donations or renovations. Currently, there are about 30 residents that are still living at the Gatwick and need to be housed elsewhere. Owners Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks also personally plan to find a place for several long-term residents.

Cress also confirmed that Nine will not do anything to diminish the Gatwick’s historic façade. “What we do internally or create as a challenge for the contestants when they arrive [will surprise residents and traders],” he said. Cress did not go into detail about what the network has in store for the property and it was not clear whether “The Block” season 13 would be when it will be used.


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