The Block Back in Melbourne But Not Without Controversy
The Block will continue to be filmed in Melbourne with news the producers have bought an old commercial premises in Albert Park.
However it is not without controversy as the local residents are not happy with the new development which is in the suburb of Albert Park.
This is the downside of filming in upmarket suburbs as they don’t like their suburb to evolve and the downside for production is residents have the money and know-how to take it to court.
The SMH reports:
Watercress Productions has paid $5.9 million for Dux House, a 1176 square metre factory at 47 O’Grady Street, until recently a commercial building that at one stage was also occupied by a church.
In what is considered Melbourne’s most expensive residential pocket, measured by land value, the factory rises above heritage protected streets near St Vincent Gardens, less than two kilometres south-west of the CBD, walking distance to Albert Park Lake, the beach and Bridport Street shopping village.
After being leased to commercial tenants for generations, the site’s vendor recently obtained a controversial permit allowing the warehouse to be extended and refitted as four large dwellings over four levels.
Rejected by locals, many who wanted the building converted into one dwelling, the proposal was also opposed by Port Phillip Council on the grounds of height, density and appearance, which it said “represented a significant and unacceptable visual intrusion into the surrounding historic neighbourhood”.
The ‘development opportunity’ was listed for sale early this year with a buyer-friendly option for a long 24-month settlement. Watercress instead settled in June.
Tradespeople are currently re-fitting the Albert Park factory to allow contestants to start renovating the apartments, possibly from later this year.
Buyers advocate Frank Valentic, whose profile has ballooned since his appearance at The Block auctions over the years, said the producers may be acting prematurely.
Mr Valentic understands some Albert Park locals, who have just found out Watercress bought into the neighbourhood, are planning another appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
More on the official SMH website.
In more The Block news this story here says the reserves on the Sky High apartments were set prior to the renovation and that they were set below market value to get a better result. Also there is debate about whether it is advantageous or disadvantageous to the buyer.
The Block will be back in 2014.