Channel 9 has bought the notorious Gatwick Hotel

by Samantha Landy

By lodging a caveat, a buyer can prevent others from registering interest in a property ahead of theirs.

Nine Network would not comment.

Rumours emerged late last year that The Block was eyeing the rooming house to renovate on its next season.

The Herald Sun reported in December that a deal was understood to have been struck between the show and owners of the building in principle, and paperwork lodged with lawyers to be signed off.

But recent developments had left the deal in doubt, including suggestions a company linked to Channel 9 had quietly snapped up a parcel of land in Elsternwick for $9.6 million in mid-December.

The Herald Sun understands The Block is due to start filming in late April, so it’s unlikely the next season will centre on The Gatwick.

The owners of the rooming house, sisters Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks, listed the property for sale in December 2015, citing mounting costs and Melbourne’s ice problem as their reasons.

The sisters were seeking more than $15 million for it.

That would easily be the biggest price paid for a Block location — last season’s Port Melbourne building at 164 Ingles St cost $5.025 million and the former Hotel Saville in South Yarra used the year before, $6.252 million.

About 40 residents of The Gatwick — a hotbed for crime and drugs in ­recent years — were told to leave earlier this month as its owners finalised the sale of the property.

The government will help arrange alternative ­accommodation for them.

The Herald Sun has contacted Ms Kelly for comment.