Newell St residents brace for disruption, excitement of television production.
The upmarket Auckland suburb of Pt Chevalier will be home to the next series of The Block NZ.
The usually quiet Newell St has been buzzing after a large group of "television-type" people rolled in to inspect two bungalows on large sites at numbers 26 and 28.
The Newell St properties have CVs of $880,000 and $900,000 respectively. They are described as three-bedroom, 1920s bungalows. Each has one bathroom.
"We had heard they were sold to The Block - it is pretty exciting," said Neil Macgregor, who lives opposite the two bungalows.
"It will be crazy for about four months and then we will have four nice, high-spec homes."
The street borders the Meola Reef Reserve and is one of the most desirable in the already expensive city-fringe suburb.
The Herald on Sunday understands the houses, on 832sq m and 836sq m, sold for $1.8million each.
That would make the sale the most expensive in the history of the show.
Other houses in the street have sold for more than $2m.
"I'm not looking forward to the disruption," said another neighbour, Gerard Nancarrow. "I'm not a fan but I saw parts of the last show and I can imagine it is going to be sheer hell. It's a quiet street but I can imagine how noisy it is going to be when they get into it."
Executive producer of The Block Greg Heathcote said the site was one of three the show was trying to do deals on.
"We are looking at three different locations and we haven't committed to making the show at any of them just yet," he said. "If they all come off we will have houses for future seasons."
Shift worker Paul Walsh, who lives next to the houses, said he hoped to hear from production company Eyeworks soon. "I'm a flight service manager for Air New Zealand and I sleep during the day so I hope they will approach us to tell us what is going on."
The cul-de-sac is walking distance from the popular Pt Chevalier School.
Last season, the production company drew criticism for choosing a site across the road from Takapuna Grammar.
Walsh said Newell St and surrounding roads were busy enough with parents driving children to and from the primary school and kindergarten.
"The street is packed every morning and afternoon and it will be worse with all the trade and film crew," he said. "It's going to be a nightmare. They have picked the wrong street."
On Friday, neighbours were speculating how four houses would fit on to the combined 1668sq m site.
Most thought the character houses would be shifted and another two added.
In the hit show, four pairs renovate run-down homes to win cash.
Last season, winning contestants Caleb and Alice Pearson made a $181,000 profit when their house sold for $1,126,000.
Under the rules, contestants kept everything above an agreed reserve price and the winners pocketed an additional $80,000.
An estimated 1.2 million viewers watched the televised live auction.