Developers who demolished famously crooked pub must rebuild it as it was

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Better have Ronald Hamburger on retainer to make sure the lean is properly restored


Convenient design: easy to slide drinks down to the end of the bar, just make sure the taps and bartender stay up at the high end.


Wait, they blocked the only road access with a mound of dirt?? Wow, that is really removing any plausible deniability.


It’s about 8 miles from where I live and I was actually going to meet a friend there about a week before it happened.
“I don’t want to do the crooked house” he said “I was there last week and there was a really weird vibe, not even anyone behind the bar, its like the new owners don’t give a shit.”

And then it burnt down.
And then was bulldozed by a bulldozer that was hired several days before the fire and just happened to be on site.

The owners are not just criminals. But very dumb criminals.


Something a bit similar is playing out at a town near where I live. A colonial-era tavern was bought by investors, who gave a half-hearted attempt to turn a successful 200+ year old working class bar into a high-price bistro/restaurant. It wasn’t a bad restaurant, but it wasn’t good enough to survive, which turned out to be the plan. Once they had a bad month, they closed it, announced they were tearing it down and building an office building.

The resulting lawsuit, as the building has a lot of historical encumberances, means that the tavern has been sitting empty now for over a decade. Heck, the town is nicknamed after the tavern, and has been since its incorporation over a century ago. The new owners, having been informed that a) they can’t tear it down, b) if it mysteriously catches on fire or is otherwise damaged they have to do a full historically accurate restoration, and c) while they don’t have to run it as a bar/restaurant/inn, if they want to do anyting with it it has to fall within those historical categories of business. They appealed, got nowhere, and now are sitting on a property they can’t sell for what they paid for it, can’t lease it out without losing money, and can’t bring themselves to going back to running it as the town bar, so it sits empty. Every so often the zoning commission gets a request from them to change its zoning, and the historical registry authority a request to delist it, but unless someone bribes a whole lot of people who are invested in the town’s identity, I don’t think it is going to ever be torn down, and unless someone with more money than sense buys it from them, it will never be open to the public again. Capitalism at its finest!


This is one of the things I don’t get. How does leasing it out lose more money than letting it sit? A lot of business leases require the lessee to do all the renovations, so it’s not like a residential lease where they’d be on the hook for it.


The details are tedious, but in essence a) an investor group buys a bunch of properties that are “underperforming,” b) they go to lending institution and say “we’re going to tear down these historical landmarks, low income housing, and orphanages, and put in office buildings. They will lease out at at least $XX/sq.ft/month, so give us $x000,000,000 to develop them.” c) Having committed on the loans to a specific minimum lease rate, they have to now lease it out at that rate, or not at all, or they are in violation of their loan agreement. If they lease it out for less, the bank can sue them, force a renegotiation of the loan rates, and so on.
(edit) Oh, and the bank, in turn, has sold off the loan as derivatives and other investment vehicles, so they can’t change their terms unless their downstream investors and quantitative analysts agree to let them, which would mean they have to get permission from and renegotiate with their investors, and so on down the line. The ultimate resolution will probably be either inflation making the minimum rent accessible, removal of the property in future renegotiations and then being sold at a loss, or someone accepting a bribe and letting them destroy a landmark to build an office building in a rural town with no demand for such.


Also the value of the property for taxation is based on stated rental/lease rates. If you lease for less, the value goes down, which reduces its usefulness in being used as collateral.
This is why the orange twatwaffle got into so much trouble with NY. He undervalued his property for taxation and overvalued it as collateral, thus defrauding both the state and his lenders.


As a Brit I’m very happy with this decision. It’s not the first time a local council has compelled a delinquent owner to restore a pub brick by brick.

Local democracy in action for once.


I think it’s going to be a challenge for them to rebuild the place given that is nothing plumb.

Personally, I’d enjoy figuring that out but I doubt the developers will feel that way.

Fuck 'em!


Not possible to evidentially prove it was them who actually did it though.

(Narrator: They did it.)

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Here in UK it is ‘surprising’ how many listed buildings in dilapidation whose owners do not want or can’t afford to fix them (because there is no profit in it) seem to randomly go on fire.

Private Eye has a regular column about historic buildings at risk, and too frequently report on a convenient fire.


This is only the start of legal problems for the building’s new owners. Apparently, the company that handled the demolition was hired days before the fire. It’s not exactly a mystery what happened here.


This pub wasn’t crooked, but it was built in 1856 (which is to say: it was almost as old as Melbourne itself). And for the last twenty years I’ve worked within a block of it, and it was my local.

Followup to the wiki page:

Kutlesovski and Shaqiri finally agreed to rebuild the pub, as they had been originally required to, under threat of potential further jail time. The pair are required to rebuild the pub as it originally appeared in its heritage form. The news was welcomed by parties to the case.

That was November 2023. They did replace the walled off pile of rubble with a “park” (which is: a lawn with some plantings around the edge and a couple of benches), but even that hasn’t been mowed in months and the grass is currently knee-high and still growing. The “developers” have lied before, and I suspect that any rebuilding is going to have to involve them being sent to jail and their possessions sold to fund somebody else to do the work. Also, I wouldn’t trust these idiots to put one brick on another, let alone rebuild a 170 year old working pub.

Of course, what makes this even more stupid was that the demolition (not even the flimsy excuse of it having burned down first) was done over a weekend. And in full view of the building over the road, which is the University of Melbourne Faculty of Law building, and all the Law students studying over the weekend for whom it was their local.


It looks level once you’re properly pissed.


They had to be pretty stupid to think that nobody would join the dots between the fire and the recent change in ownership.


I will believe it when I see it.


Unfortunately, this isn’t just necessary in the UK, but still glad it happens.