Octogenarian billionaire Harry Triguboff, founder of Meriton Serviced Apartments, says he still has his “foot on the accelerator” and is set to become Australia’s biggest owner of hotel rooms by the end of this year, overtaking the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund.
Mr Triguboff, 83, who is already Australia’s most prolific apartment developer, was recently ranked the country’s richest man by BRW with net wealth exceeding $10 billion.
He says several new projects will take Meriton’s hotel suite numbers to 4621 this year with that figure expected to reach 5296 by the end of 2017.
According to Meriton, the present #1 is the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with a 4352-room hotel portfolio it acquired from Tourism Asset Holdings in 2013.
Mr Triguboff made his fortune building and selling high-rise apartments in Sydney near transport hubs.
He diversified into serviced apartments 13 years ago.
“I’ve got my foot on the accelerator,” Mr Triguboff says.
“It didn’t take me long to learn that if you own the buildings and run them properly yourself rather than lease them out, the serviced apartment hotel business can be very lucrative.
“So we’re taking every opportunity, when the location’s right, to build more serviced apartments.”
Meriton Serviced Apartments operate in 16 buildings across Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
New properties are opening this year in Mascot, North Sydney, Parramatta and at Southport on the Gold Coast.
“We’ll be adding even more suites in 2017 that will take our portfolio to nearly 5300,” says Matthew Thomas, National Manager of Meriton Serviced Apartments.