Gold Coast must turn to business, not just tourism, to survive: Harry Triguboff

Gold Coast must turn to business, not just tourism, to survive: Harry Triguboff
Gold Coast must turn to business, not just tourism, to survive: Harry Triguboff

Meriton boss Harry Triguboff has lamented the current state of the Surfers Paradise market, calling on the government to base more of its institutions near Main Beach to help revive the area.

Speaking at a property lunch in Sydney this week, he said Surfers remained a very attractive place, but could not survive just as a residential location.

“It needs to be a place for work,” Triguboff says. “It cannot just be a place for building apartments; it cannot survive on just one industry.”

“Once we overcome that, it will shoot up like crazy. It’s terrific.”

In his attempts to help revive the ailing Gold Coat market, Triguboff says he has been trying to convince Chinese buyers that Surfers Paradise is part of Brisbane.

However, he says he has not been helped in his efforts by the state local governments, which don’t respect what he is doing.

“Just recently I had a development approved on the Gold Coast. They only approved it because they needed the money, not because they wanted to. That is unfortunate because we should really learn to work together,” he says.

For the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise to succeed, they will need to emulate the success of somewhere like Parramatta, a satellite city to Sydney, Triguboff says.

Triguboff says Parramatta is succeeding because it has been able to attract some big-government tenants such as the Water Board and Commonwealth Bank.

Surfers Paradise, he says, needs the big government organisations moving in to help the market develop.

Overall though, Chinese buyers remain the key to Meriton’s success, not just on the Gold Coast.

Triguboff says that most of his buyers are now Chinese, so much so that Meriton has including lots of photos of Asian people in its advertising and promotional material as well as employing more Asians in marketing new projects.

“We went them to feel at home,” he says.

Asked by Ross Greenwood, host of Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) discussion,  if he has had to make any changes to the types of apartments he is building to satisfy Chinese buyers, Triguboff says this has not been necessary.

“They are happy with the way Meriton builds its apartments. That is the way they think it is supposed to be,” he says.

According to Triguboff the high costs associated with purchasing property and high interest rates are making it very hard for Australian to buy into Meriton developments.

“That is why we have to depend so much on the Chinese, but I hope it will change. I hope costs will be brought down and that interest rates will come down because demand is at record levels.”

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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