MR HARRY TRIGUBOFF'S 80 YEAR ADVENTURE
Meriton’s Managing Director: Mr Harry Triguboff AO
Harry Oscar Triguboff was born in Darien, China on 3 March 1933, to Moishe and Freda Triguboff.
He spent his early childhood in the white Russian Jewish community in Tientsin (now Tianjin) south of Beijing. He came to Australia in 1948 and was educated at Scots College in Sydney, before attending Leeds University in England. He graduated with a degree in textile engineering and began his working life in textile businesses in Israel and South Africa before returning to Australia in 1960.
Mr Triguboff became an Australian citizen in 1961. He drove a taxi and owned a milk run before building his first block of units and established Meriton Apartments in 1963. Since then he has become one of Australia’s most successful property developers and most generous philanthropists.
Harry Triguboff has turned Meriton into Australia’s largest apartment builder and a brand synonymous with residential apartment developments. More people have purchased apartments from Meriton, than any other developer in the country.
The story begins in the Sydney suburb of Tempe in 1963, although at this time the company was yet to be named. Harry Triguboff decided to build small blocks of six to eight apartments first. As there was no strata title until 1968, the entire development was sold to an individual investor.
In 1968 the still unnamed company was facing difficulties, endeavouring to sell two bedroom apartments in Ryde (Sydney) for $9,750, with a garage for an extra $500. In 1969 the company undertook its largest development to date; 18 apartments in Meriton Street, Gladesville. The project was a success and Meriton as we know it today was born.
The new company was floated on the Stock Market as “Meriton Properties”. However, in 1973, after a brief and volatile relationship with the Australian stock exchange, Mr Triguboff bought back every share, paying $1.30 per share, $0.70 above the listed value.
In 1974, the market turned. Difficulties in selling meant developments had to be leased. By today’s standards the sites were small, containing an average of 10-15 apartments. Mr Triguboff decided that there was no future in Australia. He began to wind down building and sales across the portfolio, with a plan to move to the United States. At the last minute a site that was purchased for $150,000 was approved for 30 apartments. With this opportunity, Mr Triguboff decided to keep Meriton in Australia.
Over the next decade Meriton rode a rollercoaster of economic circumstances. By 1979, the sales team, which had grown to 18, was reduced to one. Three years later, in 1982 things had picked up again. In that 12 month period, a single salesperson sold a record 94 apartments. Sites were only open on Wednesdays and salespeople worked from their cars – a far cry from the integrated Display Centres produced today.
During the 1980’s, Mr Triguboff introduced two new policies to the Meriton business model;
· Buy during a slump, sell during a boom and;
· Only build in areas that can sustain new development with existing infrastructure.
These polices have been the key to building Meriton into the company it is today.
10 years ago, Meriton identified an opportunity in the market for luxury, self-contained apartment sized hotel style accommodation. Bringing together industry experts and experience from some of the world’s leading hotel groups, he forged a new brand that is Meriton Serviced Apartments (MSA).
Starting with just 25 apartments in Bondi Junction, the brand has grown to a staggering 3,200 apartments across 13 locations. This amazing growth is largely due to Meriton’s dedication to quality and high levels of consistency together with commitment to build brand new, iconic masterpieces that now form the MSA portfolio.
This successful combination has delivered a much needed fresh addition to the Australian hotel accommodation industry.
Honours and Awards
Harry Triguboff has received two honourary doctorates and the following honours and awards:
· Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990
· Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1999
· Property Person of the Year by Urban Taskforce, 2003 & 2009 - The first person to receive this award twice
· Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2008
· Honourary doctorate from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008
· Winner of the Gold Harold Award in the Humanitarian Category, 2011
· Honourary doctorate from Griffith University of Queensland, 2012
Harry Triguboff has proudly established Meriton as Australia’s leading residential property developer; a brand synonymous with superior quality and value.