Contractors have started laying the foundations at a central Auckland site for the four homes which will feature on the new series of the The Block NZ.
Builders and tradesmen are working to prepare the Pt Chevalier sections in time for the third season of the show — for which TV3 has not revealed a start date.
About a dozen workers were yesterday laying concrete and bulldozing the land. The grass had been dug up and storm water equipment could be seen on the properties.
"They are on such a tight deadline," said a neighbour.
The resident, who did not want to be named, said the site had been chaotic and parking spaces in the street were becoming increasingly scarce.
He was concerned by the rise in "rubber-neckers" driving down the road to catch a glimpse of the developments, as children often rode bikes and skateboards around the dead-end street.
"We were never against the building of the houses, it's the freak show that's accompanying it," he said.
Production company Eyeworks bought two 1920s bungalows on Newell St this year and the houses were demolished last month after resource consent was granted despite resident opposition.
The 1,668sqm site will become home to four new houses by the end of the year as contestants on the reality renovation show compete to create the best house within a budget.
Mediaworks spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer would not reveal at what stage in the building process the contestants would take over, but said that when they did, "they'll have their work cut out for them".
Contestants for the coming season are yet to be announced but Ms Lorimer said "they're keen to get stuck in".
"People are starting to get excited about it.
"We don't want to give away anything that would be a spoiler for viewers, but this series will have everything Kiwis love about The Block, with the exciting twists that come from working on a different site in a different suburb."
Each of the four new houses will incorporate part of the two demolished houses previously on the site as part of the challenge.
Ms Lorimer said TV3 was working to minimise the effect on the neighbourhood.
This is the first time that The Block sites have been in an Auckland city suburb — the two previous series were filmed on the North Shore.
The winning house from season two of the show will be auctioned this Thursday, six months after the buyers moved in.
Barfoot & Thompson agent Alice Du said the vendors had asked her not to comment on the sale.