The Block buys ‘horror hotel’ for new series
IT'S the notorious hotel of horrors where guests have been murdered, drugs have been injected and alcohol swigged.
But now it could be the setting for wholesome, prime time family viewing entertainment.
Channel 9 has reportedly purchased the infamous Gatwick Hotel in Melbourne as the location for the next series of The Block.
It's been described as a "festering flophouse" and "flea pit".
Located in the seaside suburb of St Kilda - and surrounded by some of the city's most expensive real estate - it's had such a fearsome reputation many homeless people needing a place to stay actively avoid it.
A company called Micjoy placed a caveat on the property on Wednesday. That company is owned by Nine Entertainment Group.
Nine Entertainment Group would not confirm nor deny to news.com.au that it had bought the Gatwick Hotel and refused to comment on reports of the sale.
However, just one week ago, the Gatwick Hotel told residents to start thinking about packing their bags.
Some Melbourne charities are concerned the Gatwick's closure could lead to more homeless people on the streets.
The infamous boarding house has its own listing on TripAdvisor - and the reviews aren't good.
"Feel for some of the people that stay here bcos (sic) it's a hotbed of violence and drugs," a review said.
Another guest said three police detectives calmed down a group of hotel guests on the footpath while another group of shirtless visitors yelled abuse at passers-by while also emptying buckets of water out the windows.
"You would be better off sleeping on a tram," the review said.
Another warns backpackers could be lured in to the hotel of horrors for the cheap rate of $220 a week, but don't be fooled.
"Some of the people who permanently stay at the Gatwick spend their whole days outside the building pestering people, who dare walk past, for change. Avoid at all costs," the unhappy guest said.
Yahoo 7 reported between April 2012 and 2013, there were 74 crimes committed at the Gatwick, including kidnapping, assault and aggravated burglary.
"There's no hiding the fact that there's been murders, violent assaults, there have been drug overdoses there," Detective Sergeant Ed Logonder said.
He described it as a dangerous place and had one of the worst reputations.
A documentary, The Saints from St Kilda, shows the cockroaches, junkies and jailbirds and pregnancy tests in fridges and blood-strained sinks.
Residents say you can get a cocktail of drugs from within the hotel, anything you want can be found inside The Gatwick.
The long-time owners, sisters Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks, told the documentary they did have days that were like living nightmares and people would sometimes skip out on paying rent, spending their pensions and dole payments on gambling and drugs instead.
But many of those who lived at the Gatwick said they'd be out on the streets if it wasn't for the hotel, where they felt warm and welcomed.
The hotel was first put on the market in December 2015 because, according to the sisters, they couldn't afford maintenance.
Initially, the asking price was around $12 million but it's likely that figure has come down substantially.
There were rumours the Gatwick might become a boutique hotel. But it now seems likely that, before that happens, the drama of turning a dilapidated boarding house into a des res will be screened five nights of week on prime time TV.