Rebels clubhouse to be bulldozed for townhouses

The former Rebels Motorcycle Club headquarters in North Hobart. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Rebels Motorcycle Club’s North Hobart headquarters is set to be demolished to make way for four new townhouses after the prime piece of real estate was sold for $1.25 million.

Ketley Investments, which is owned by a Tasmanian family, bought the 815sqm block on the corner of Letitia and Burnett streets on November 5 last year.

The Mercury understands state Rebels president Shaun Kelly approached Ketley Investments, which owns the two townhouses next door to the clubhouse, to gauge their interest and negotiate a deal on behalf of former national president Alessio “Alex” Vella.

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A planning application for “demolition and change of use to four multiple dwellings” was lodged with the Hobart Council last month and remains under assessment.

Ketley Investments hopes the project will be approved as early as March, with construction to begin as soon as they receive the tick of approval.

The development will include two four-bedroom and two three-bedroom modern townhouses with precast concrete panels, large aluminium-framed double-glazed windows, and celery top pine cladding and fencing made from salvaged Lake Pieman timber.

The proposed site plan also shows a nine-space underground carpark with several storage units and a pool in the backyard of one of the townhouses.

The property was valued at $650,000 in 2014 but the price tag continued to climb as part of Tasmania’s booming housing market.

Vella, 65, bought the corner block for $228,000 in October 2001 and remained the registered property owner until the deed was transferred to Ketley Investments.

The retired boxer and stand-over man was one of the first big name bikies to be booted from Australia in 2014 when the Federal Government introduced new laws stripping residency from dual citizens or foreign nationals deemed to be of “unfit character”.

Vella, who held Australian residency for 47 years but not citizenship, was visiting his birthplace of Malta when his visa was cancelled under section 501 of the Migration Act. He has been stranded there ever since.

In an exclusive interview with News Corp in 2017, the veteran bikie said his multimillion-dollar business empire had been destroyed by crippling legal bills as he fought a series of unsuccessful court appeals against his exile.

Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling told the Mercury he was aware the Rebels had sold their Hobart clubhouse but said there was no general relocation reporting requirements placed on outlaw motorcycle gangs.

This article from The Mercury originally appeared as “Planning application for new townhouses lodged with council after the sale of the Rebels clubhouse in North Hobart”.