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What to expect on The Block in 2018

There’s no doubt that this years series of The Block is going to be the most tasking ones yet. It’s not everyday you get to turn an old meth house into a complex of high-end luxury apartments! The former Gatwick Hotel in St. Kilda officially closed it’s doors in July 2017, amid the news that it was purchased by Channel Nine, as the latest building to be renovated on their hit renovation TV show. The planning permit for the renovation states these main factors:.

    1. Demolition of the roof to make way for two rooftop terrace apartments (we’ll take one please!). There will be 8 apartments in total, so this might mean there will be 8 teams? This is unlikely, as the most there has ever been is 5. We think that there will be 6 in all, and they will be tasked to work together to renovate the top two apartments in the final weeks.
    2. Provision of 6 car spaces for the 8 dwellings. We’re not sure if this is 6 car spaces in total, but we highly doubt it. That would be insane! If so, either the new occupiers get along and carpool, or be prepared to PT it everywhere!
    3. Winter Garden style balconies that don’t extend out beyond the actual walls of the building. We thinks that this means that there will be an ‘internal balcony’ like the pic shown below.  But add glass louvre windows. Yummo!
    4. Retain some of the ‘modest aspects’ of the foyer, such as the parquetry.
    5.  Reuse some of the original historic materials, such as balustrades and panelling, to build a second entrance and new stairs to six of the apartments. Does this mean that the top 2 apartments will only be accessible by a lift? Seriously, this is much too exciting!

An example of a winter garden balcony.

  • Loch Street will also be closed off for the renovations, between Fitzroy Street and West Beach Road, and will re-open in April 2018. Whilst this might be a hassle for local residents, we’re sure they won’t mind.

You see, in recent years, the Gatwick had become a refuge for the homeless and drug addicted. It was also a place for recently released from prison, who had nowhere else to go. Nearby residents were scared for their safety, and felt that the ‘family friendly’ vibe of the neighbourhood was gone. Considering that the Gatwick was dubbed ‘hell hotel’, courtesy of the crimes (including a couple of murders) committed there and the ‘clientele’ it attracted in its latter years, it’s no wonder locals were calling for it’s closure. They got what they wanted, although we have no idea where those who frequented the property now sleep at night.

Yep, people were murdered in the Gatwick hotel. We thinking it might be the reason they eventually closed their doors… According to an article by News.com.au, a man was murdered in a corridor of the hotel in 2014, leaving the walls splattered in blood. Years earlier, in 2005, a man was found dead in his room with 12 fractured ribs, a crushed larynx and a lacerated ear. Adding to the madness, is that he was probably alive when he was found earlier, in a corridor, but was put to bed by a night manager.  In 2011, a woman was stabbed in a botched drug deal. The guy that stabbed her wasn’t caught until 2014, when he returned to the Gatwick and stabbed another lady. He was shot dead by police that night. In 2006, a 34 year old man was repeatedly stabbed in the foyer of the hotel. But death by drug overdose was the most common, with 4 overdoses between 2014 and 2015 alone. In the News.com.au article, they state that a report from Yahoo 7 stated that between 2012 and 2013, a whopping 74 crimes at the gatwick. And we’re not just talking about someone stealing a salt mill or sugar bowl. The crimes included kidnapping, assault and aggravated burglary.

This oldie must have been a goodie

The 80 year old building definitely has an interesting, albeit not desirable, history. But having a geezer at the pics of the hotel, it must have been gorgeous ‘back in the day’. The design is not timeless per say, but to remove all the history would be a shame. Let’s hope that the contestants respect the history of the building, as Melbourne is known, and is proud, of its heritage landscape.

 


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