The Block homes are finished but there's more on offer in Gisborne
The remains of the heritage-listed Macedon House hotel, dating to original construction in 1847

The Block homes are finished but there's more on offer in Gisborne

The quaint country town of Gisborne has been thrown into the national spotlight on the latest season of the hit renovation television series The Block.

But while the teams have finished the painstaking renovation of five stunning homesteads, an arguably bigger restoration project is on offer at the southern gateway into town.

The former Macedon House hotel is for sale. Or, more accurately, what remains of it.

Built in 1847, the historic hotel was delicensed in 1867 and then went on to function as a boarding house, a private residence, a school and the clubhouse for the local bowling club.

But the lawn bowlers and school kids have long since departed, and the building stands empty and decaying, cut off from the rest of the neighbourhood by a security fence topped with barbed wire.

But this is certainly no demolition job. Its heritage listing will likely require the lucky bidder to oversee the reconstruction of the building’s remnants and the overall repurposing of the site.

Up until recently, the current owner had a heritage permit to extend and develop the premises into a boutique residence.

The vendors, a Queensland property group, paid $1.36 million for the site in 2018, according to PriceFinder.

But their plans to subdivide and redevelop never came to fruition and the entire site at 1 Kilmore Road is now on the market, listed through Gray Johnson agent Rory White alongside Broadhurst Property’s Robert Broadhurst.

Broadhurst said the vendors were selling to focus on their Queensland projects, and prospective buyers could take advantage of numerous consultancy reports worth tens of thousands of dollars.

“The current owner had a concept for 24 units or townhouses,” Broadhurst said.

The agents are encouraging prospective buyers to consider the potential for subdivision, as the rear portion of the property has been identified as a suitable zone for medium-density housing by the local council’s Gisborne Futures Project. The owner had previously secured permission to subdivide the massive site into three allotments.

“There have been a couple of false starts over the last decade,” Broadhurst said. “It’s been sitting vacant for long enough.”

The Gisborne site, sprawling across 20,500 square metres of land set over two titles, is expected to fetch about $2 million when it goes to auction next month.

Gisborne, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, is a popular tree-change location, with residential growth forecasted over the next decade.

The heritage mansion could be restored and repurposed into a hospitality venue, accommodation or private residence, subject to council approval.

The property will be auctioned on-site on Saturday, November 5 – the same day the five completed homes on The Block will go under the hammer. 

“It’s certainly a coincidence,” Broadhurst said, adding that the Kilmore Road property had first been listed for sale three months ago.

Earlier this year, another heritage-listed Edwardian property in Gisborne sold for $2.354 million at auction. “That went for $1 million over reserve,” Broadhurst said.

Interest in the vacant commercial building mainly came from childcare operators and office developers, he added.