Triguboff Still Powering Ahead At 80 With `Biggest Ever’ Land Purchase


FRESH from celebrating his 80th birthday on Sunday, billionaire Harry Triguboff is clearly not planning on slowing down. Ranked by Forbes as Australia’s sixth- richest man with a fortune of more than $US4 billion ($3.95bn), Mr Triguboff is about to fork out $100 million to buy an industrial site in Sydney, giving the powerful property baron the rights to develop $750m worth of apartment towers and shopping centres by 2017.

Mr Triguboffs Meriton Apartments is expected to exchange contracts as early as today on a 31,500sq m site at 19 Kent Road, Mascot, buying it from the Goodman Group, the ASX- listed Australian landlord that controls about $20bn of logistics sheds and business parks around the world. The negotiations over the site, which does not yet have planning approvals for housing development, have been on and off, but Meriton executives said yesterday a deal was again imminent.

More than 1000 apartments will be developed on the site, and Mr Triguboff expects it will take at least four years to complete the wide -ranging project, which will also include a shopping centre, supermarket, and specialty shops on the Kent Road site.

Mr Triguboff yesterday said hewas attracted to Mascot – near Sydney’s domestic and international airports – because there were few apartment developments in the area. He plans to develop similar apartments to the units he has completed at nearby South Dowling Street.

"At the moment I have nothing in Mascot (and) I have a lot of apartments in South Dowling Street," Mr Triguboff told The Australian."There are fewer units in Mascot. It’s time I had some (diversification). I thought it would be a good change," he said.

The billionaire is clearly not afraid of spending money, confirming that $100m is the most he has paid for a single site. "I (also) bought the South Dowling Street site for $100m four years ago." Mr Triguboff, who is developing more than 2000 units in Sydney, was also active last week, paying $25.4m for a site at Sydney’s Olympic Park, where he plans to develop a 300 -unit apartment complex. Despite the acquisitions, he said that speculation that interest rates would not be cut further due to improving property market conditions needed to stop. "There is no doubtthatthe catalyst for a property market recovery lies with the Reserve Bank droppingrates further," he said.

Despite wide -ranging reports of residential price growth, he said there had only been strong price growth in selected areas, mainly within a 10km ring of Sydney’s CBD.

"This price growth is due to strong demand from Asian buyers who consider Sydney to be relatively cheaper than the cities of Shanghai or Beijing," he said. "The real test for property
values will be if China’s economy starts to slow." In Brisbane, Meriton will complete the Infinity Tower at 43 Herschel Street later this year. The average sale price in the 81 -level complex is $650,000 and two – thirds of the units have pre – sold.

Article by Lisa Allen
The Australian

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