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Meriton founder ponders $3b offer from China

Billionaire Harry Triguboff was born in a White Russian Jewish enclave in China. For 50 years he has been building ­Australia’s biggest unit company, ­Meriton Apartments.

But now, aged 81, Australia’s fourth-richest person is Brisbane Investor, Property Investment, Investors, Invest Brisbane, Rental Property, investment properties, property market, Meritonconsidering selling half of Meriton to Chinese interests in a deal that could net him at least $3 billion. It would be the ultimate sale of Australian apartments to ­Chinese investors.

Triguboff told AFR Weekend he re­ceived an offer for his business on a trip to China two weeks ago from the owner of a property developer that builds 200,000 dwellings there annually.

“I am thinking I could sell part of [Meriton],” Triguboff said.

“It is very early stages, but I could be prepared to sell the development part of the business and then the family could continue to collect the rent on the units I already own. Maybe I could retire soon and they could run the investment business.”

He says the company, which carries little debt, is now worth about $6.3 billion after his wealth was valued at $4.95 billion on the 2013 BRW Rich List.

Meriton, Triguboff says, will make about $300 million profit from unit sales of about $1.1 billion this year and the company’s land bank for future developments has “easily” gone up $200 million in value in the past 12 months.

The potential sale to the Chinese developer, who Triguboff would not name, would comprise of the existing developments that are under way.

The rental business makes about $200 million profit each year, Triguboff said, from the 2000 units he owns in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. That business would stay in family hands and is worth up to $3.5 billion.

Triguboff has mostly built in Sydney and said house prices there have “stabilised” and that better growth was being experienced in Brisbane, albeit off a relatively low base.

Any move to sell would be a marked shift in strategy for Triguboff, who has famously said for decades he had little interest in ever retiring. He said his daughters had never shown real interest in taking over Meriton but that he now has a grandson, Daniel, working for him who could potentially head the investment business the family would continue to own.

However, Triguboff cautioned that any sale would only take place if the Meriton sales business remains intact.

“I am not selling anything if they are going to start firing people,” he said.

“Other people think about shareholders, well, I think about my people. I don’t look at it if it is a good or bad deal, I am looking at the evolution of the company. He [the potential buyer] wants apartments that are able to be sold. Of course there are many Chinese buying in Australia at the moment and what we have is a lot of apartments that already have a lot of approvals. That is why they are interested in me.”

Triguboff said Australia would be “silly to be afraid of the Chinese” in terms of investment, but warned foreign property developers could lose interest in investing in Australia if project approvals continued to unfold at a slow place.

“They do want to be in Australia because it is safe for them, but they can go anywhere they like if they do not make the money here they want. The planning is still too slow here.”



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The seaside community getting a new supermarket after signing of 10-year lease

The seaside community getting a new supermarket after signing of 10-year lease

A popular seaside location is finally about to get a new supermarket.

An IGA supermarket is set to open at Noosa Council’s Sunrise Beach shopping complex, within a year, following the signing of a 10-year lease for the anchor tenancy.

The project has been revived after being put on hold earlier this year due to challenging times.

In welcoming the IGA’s signing of the lease, Mayor Clare Stewart said that having an IGA in the Council-owned complex would be a great win for the local community and neighbouring businesses.

“We’re thrilled the IGA has decided sign a lease for the site,” the Mayor said.

“Having an IGA at the Sunrise Beach Shops will provide local residents with another convenient grocery shopping option close to home,” she said.

“Having such a strong anchor tenant will also boost foot traffic to the complex to help drive extra trade for the other quality local businesses also based at the complex.”

The 10-year lease includes options to extend for further periods.

CEO Scott Waters said Council would carry out some work to the property to enable it to accommodate a supermarket, ahead of the IGA’s interior fit-out of the space.

“Council and the IGA will be working as quickly as possible to complete the work in the face of building industry supply chain challenges, so that the supermarket can open as soon as possible,” he said.

Mr Waters said the new lease was good news for ratepayers, as it meant a guaranteed income from the Council-owned commercial asset for at least the next decade.

“Attracting a quality, long-term tenant is the best outcome we can hope for with a commercial property such as this, to help support Council’s strong financial position, which ultimately benefits all of our ratepayers,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the new IGA.”



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Double Bay mansion hits market with jaw-dropping $28 million price guide

Double Bay mansion hits market

A sprawling mansion in Double Bay has hit the market with an eye-watering $28 million price guide.

Representing one of the largest private landholdings in the uber-affluent locale, 11 Pinehill Avenue is being offered for sale for the first time in over 50 years.

The staggering abode is spread over a scarcely believable 2300-square-metre parcel of blue-chip land, tucked away at the end of a quiet, leafy cul de sac.

The main residence is a breathtaking two-story Federation home with great bones and a resoundingly charming aesthetic.

Boasting a total of six bedrooms and four bathrooms, the abode’s interior has, however, been refurbished and redesigned to present as a much more contemporary and functional proposition.

Features include an expansive formal lounge area, formal dining room, a bar, wine cellar, study, library, professional kitchen, and a master suite with his and hers walk-in robes.

Outside, manicured grounds and established flora are complemented by an expansive pool, spa and lounge area, as well as a lock-up two-car garage.

The eye-watering asking price may sound patently absurd to some. However, considering Double Bay’s median house price currently sits at a not unsubstantial $6.5 million, just the sheer size of the block is probably enough to warrant an asking price nearly four times as much as the median.

And, according to Domain’s data, the platinum postcode’s property witnessed skyrocketing values over the course of 2021, up 52.4 per cent compared to 2020.

So, there’s every chance that, if things in Australia’s hottest property market keep going the way they have been, 11 Pinehill Avenue may well be worth a lot more in just a few short years, crazy as that may sound.



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Hutchinson Builders takes over Cbus Brisbane tower that broke Probuild

Hutchinson Builders takes over Cbus Brisbane tower

Hutchinson Builders will take over the completion of Cbus Property’s troubled residential development in Brisbane, one of most problematic projects for failed construction contractor Probuild.

The awarding of the contract was widely expected, as family-owned Hutchies, the largest Queensland-based builder, was seen as the only contractor capable of taking on the 47-level project.

“Since commencing preliminary works on site three weeks ago, Cbus Property, together with Hutchinson Builders, continues to finalise subcontractor negotiations and prepare a revised construction programme,” Cbus Property chief executive Adrian Pozzo said on Monday.

“Once finalised, we will provide an update to purchasers with a more definitive completion timeline.”

Chairman Scott Hutchinson told The Australian Financial Review in early March he was “quietly hoping” to pick up the job and the announcement makes it second time lucky for the company that came second to Probuild in the 2017 race for the project.

Probuild had tendered a price for the project that was $40 million less than Hutchies’ price and a year faster to build, Mr Hutchinson said. Probuild has not confirmed those numbers, nor has Cbus Property.

But the project turned into such a drag for the business that Probuild parent WBHO said last year – long before putting the company into administration in February this year – that the project had racked up a $48 million loss.

Sydney-based Roberts Co has acquired Probuild’s Victorian projects and Built has taken over Dexus’ 25 Martin Place project in Sydney. The future of Greaton’s Ribbon project at Sydney’s Darling Harbour is still not clear.

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