Julian Cress, the producer of Nine TV show The Block, is set to squeeze a profit selling more of the real estate created out of St Kilda’s historic Gatwick Private Hotel which was the subject of last year’s series.
Two ‘secret’ apartment shells on the ground floor of the building at 34 Fitzroy Street were put up for sale last week.
The timing of the listings coincided with the high-rating climax of the 2019 series – in particular the successful auction of five terrace homes in nearby Grey Street, St Kilda, on November 10.
One unit is slightly larger than the other and opens to a space which can be configured as a private garden.
Each carry a guide price of between $800,000 and $900,000.
Both are being marketed with architect-designed plans to be converted into oversized two bedroom residences.
Alternatively, one buyer might acquire the two flats – which share a wall – to create a super-sized dwelling.
The Gatwick Private Hotel rooming house era
Watercress paid sisters Yvonne Kelly and Rose Banks $10 million for 34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, in March, 2017.
The pair’s parents leased the property in 1970 to create a rooming house which Ms Kelly and Ms Banks were pulled out of school at aged 14 to help run.
The family acquired the freehold when it was put up for auction in 1972.
In its early years, 34 Fitzroy Street was leased to members of the Dutch Navy as accommodation – the daily charge being $4.
The venue and “strong and strict” support provided by Ms Kelly and Ms Banks – considered valuable to people across the city who had fallen on downtrodden times – has been the subject of several documentary segments including Charity Sisters which can be found here.
The sisters were filmed for another longer story, with more detail about the family, property and operation, here.
After buying the site, Watercress applied to extend the 1938 three-level structure, and reconfigure that five-storey building as eight residences.
Five “full-floor” apartments, allocated to five contestant groups, were the subject of the show’s 14th series, last year.
These sold for a combined price of $14.49 million.
Interestingly, Ms Kelly and Ms Banks acquired one of the newly renovated full-floor units as an investment, paying $2.77 million.
A sixth “challenge” apartment” was also renovated, by all contestants, as part of last years’ series.
One of the ground floor apartments which hit the market this week housed production equipment and crew while the Gatwick Private Hotel renovation was being filmed.