Reno takes se­ries to a new high

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION - The Block Sky High premieres on Sun­day at 6.30pm on Nine, NBN.

HOST Scott Cam says con­vert­ing a run-down mo­tel into lux­ury apart­ments could reap the big­gest-ever wind­fall for The Block’s con­tes­tants. The Block’s lat­est se­ries is ti­tled Sky High be­cause it in­volves the ren­o­va­tion of the five­storey South Melbourne mo­tel into one amaz­ing high-end set of apart­ments. Each of the apart­ments is a mas­sive 220sq m – big­ger than any house ren­o­vated on the se­ries, says Cam. And each one con­tains three bed­rooms, five bath­rooms, an open-plan kitchen, liv­ing and din­ing room and an en­closed ter­race. Ar­chi­tects have spared the com­pet­ing cou­ples the has­sle of hav­ing to de­sign a floor plan, so the ren­o­va­tions can be­gin im­me­di­ately. ‘‘It’s a bloody big unit. It’s a bloody big house for that mat­ter,’’ Cam says. ‘‘I find out the re­serves on the day I an­nounce it so I am ac­tu­ally quite ner­vous for them. I’m guess­ing they’d be worth $1.5 mil­lion, but po­ten­tially they could get $3 mil­lion and they could make a truck load.’’

Each cou­ple on The Block keeps what­ever their apart­ment makes above the re­serve price and the team which makes the big­gest profit over the re­serve price gets an ex­tra $100,000 in prize­money. Be­sides the height of the struc­ture and the vast amount of floor space, there are sev­eral other as­pects which set this Block se­ries apart from the oth­ers, says Cam. He says the teams have to bring in items or re­move any rub­bish via the stairs; have to do two rooms a week, ev­ery week; and have to work to­gether to com­plete the roof-top ter­race. ‘‘We give them a plan and they can change it slightly, but they’re de­signed so they work func­tion­ally and for re­sale value,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s all ma­sonry too, it’s all brick work and con­crete floors. There’s no rip­ping out tim­ber walls and it all has to be carted down stairs so we had to pick peo­ple with in­testi­nal for­ti­tude.’’ Un­like in pre­vi­ous se­ries where teams have had to sur­vive a cut­throat chal­lenge to make The Block, this time the five cou­ples, one from each main­land state, have al­ready been se­lected. The teams are en­gaged Perth cou­ple Matt and Kim, iden­ti­cal twins Alisa and Lysan­dra from Ade­laide, Bris­bane par­ents Trixie and Johnno, Melbourne mar­ried cou­ple Bec and Ge­orge and Syd­ney hus­band and wife Madi and Jar­rod. They all have a start­ing bud­get of $80,000 cash, plus shop­ping vouch­ers, but Cam says that’s nowhere near enough money for them to sat­is­fac­to­rily ren­o­vate their spe­cific floor to win the se­ries. ‘‘If you do not win room chal­lenges on The Block you can­not fin­ish the rooms the way you want them,’’ he says. ‘‘You need the cash. It’s go­ing to be a re­ally iconic build­ing in Melbourne when it is fin­ished.’’

– DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT

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