Competition for The Block from Housing NZ development across the road video

CHRIS McKEEN/Stuff.co.nz

A property under construction in the Auckland suburb of Northcote is thought to be the new site of the upcoming Block 'reality' TV series.

Contestants on The Block NZ usually compete against each other to sell their houses for the most profit.

But in the 2017 series, the contestants may also have tough competition from the Crown, with Housing New Zealand's developer HLC building directly across the road.

And at least one neighbour prefers the style of the state house development.

Four townhouses for The Block NZ are under tents. Contestants are expected to arrive this week
DENISE PIPER/FAIRFAX NZ

Four townhouses for The Block NZ are under tents. Contestants are expected to arrive this week

The Block houses this year are on Northcote's Potter Ave, on Auckland's North Shore. Unlike previous years, where pairs renovated existing structures, four new townhouses are being built on the site.

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From the road, it is possible to see the two-storey townhouses under development, with work continuing on Saturday. The structures are now under tents, presumable to stop Auckland's wet weather from affecting progress. Drone footage from three weeks ago shows the extent of the development.

The townhouses being built for Block NZ 2017 in Northcote tower over existing houses on the street.
DENISE PIPER/FAIRFAX NZ

The townhouses being built for Block NZ 2017 in Northcote tower over existing houses on the street.

A person involved with the site, who did not want to be named, said the contestants were expected to arrive on Monday for filming of the new series set to start.

The four-unit development, confirmed by Potter Ave resident Mike Hartshorne​ as being for The Block NZ, is directly opposite a four-unit HLC development which is part of the Auckland Housing Programme.

The Auckland state development involves transforming 300 existing Housing NZ properties into 1200 homes. A third of these will be social houses, a third affordable (under $650,000) and one third sold at market rates.

Traffic and parking are an issue on narrow Potter Ave, where The Block NZ will be filmed.
DENISE PIPER/FAIRFAX NZ

Traffic and parking are an issue on narrow Potter Ave, where The Block NZ will be filmed.

In stage one, 20 existing homes are being replaced with 59 new homes, said Patrick Dougherty, general manager of asset development at Housing NZ. These homes are expected to be ready in October this year.

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On Potter Ave, the HLC development is much more in-keeping with the current houses than the large development for The Block, despite both fitting four units onto one site, Hartshorne said.

"HLC is opposite. Surprisingly, they're doing a good job. In the future, its will be a good story, what they're doing versus private development," he said.

On Potter Ave in Northcote, The Block NZ houses, right, are going up opposite a Housing NZ development.
DENISE PIPER/FAIRFAX NZ

On Potter Ave in Northcote, The Block NZ houses, right, are going up opposite a Housing NZ development.

Hartshorne feared The Block development would overshadow neighbouring properties, making them want to move out and sell to developers, having a domino-effect on the street.

"If you had that built next to you, you would want to get out."

He admitted he was not a fan of The Block TV series.

On the site of the first series of The Block NZ in Takapuna, the last of the houses are being moved off to make way for ...
DENISE PIPER/FAIRFAX NZ

On the site of the first series of The Block NZ in Takapuna, the last of the houses are being moved off to make way for a 92-unit apartment block.

"They could've done it all in a studio as far as I'm concerned," Hartshorne said.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CONCERNS FOR PROJECT

Potter Ave is a narrow, residential road with traffic calming measures making the road one lane in places.

Hartshorne said traffic, increased by The Block, was already causing problems.

"The traffic is getting so frustrated they are driving on the [grass] verge," he said.

On Saturday, cars were parked on both sides of the streets, making it difficult to drive down the road.

Previous series of The Block have also been hit by traffic, parking and noise complaints.

MediaWorks, which runs The Block on Three, was unavailable for comment.

FIRST BLOCK HOUSES MOVE OFF

Meanwhile, the last of the four houses renovated in the first series of The Block NZ is being moved off site in Takapuna, also on Auckland's North Shore.

The houses are making way for a 92-unit apartment development, The Sargeson.

The houses from The Block are all moving on to different properties, said Alistair Taylor, business development manager from developer Metro Property.

 - Sunday Star Times

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