Apartment king Harry Triguboff has finally made his mark in Melbourne,
Fifty-four years after launching his Meriton business with a modest 18-unit block on Meriton Street in Gladesville on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, Mr Triguboff, cut the ribbon on his very first property in the Victorian capital on Wednesday night.
Rising an impressive 57 levels at 140 King Street, the sleek, ultra-modern tower with 298 apartment-style suites is the 23rd Meriton Suites hotel opened by the 90-year-old developer, all of which he owns.
“I am extremely proud that we have finally opened our first hotel in Melbourne,” Mr Triguboff told The Australian Financial Review.
Harry Triguboff in front of his first Melbourtne hotel, which opened its doors on Wednesday night Arsineh Houspian
“Melbourne has been a highly requested destination with our Meriton Suites guests but for me, it was important that I found the right location.
“My hotel business is very successful in Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane. So, it made sense that I should also open a hotel in Melbourne and Canberra,” he said.
In 2017, he said Melbourne’s weather and its unions were the main reasons why he had never undertaken a project in the city.
That all changed in March 2019, when he pounced on a 780 sq m site at 140 King Street – just a block from Southern Cross Station – that came with a permit for a 57-storey tower.
While the project had to survive the pandemic’s challenges – the Rothelowman-designed, Hickory-built tower was meant to open in October 2021 – Meriton could not have timed the opening any better as Melbourne prepares for an influx of footie fans for this Saturday’s AFL Grand Final.
Bookings are above 90 per cent this weekend with one of the hotel’s two top floor penthouses, which cost $2000 on Grand Final night, already booked.
Speaking to the Financial Review earlier in September, Meriton Suites group general manager Matthew Thomas said the hotel portfolio was running at occupancy close to 90 per cent.
The opening of Meriton’s first Melbourne hotel capped a $400 million expansion of Mr Triguboff’s Meriton Suites business, after opening a 230-suite hotel in Canberra (its first in the ACT) just over a month ago and a 163-suite Liverpool hotel on September 23.
Harry Triguboff inspecting his first Melbourtne hotel. Arsineh Houspian.
Whilst Melbourne still trails the other capital city hotel markets – average occupancy was 68 per cent over the first eight months of the year compared with 75 per cent in Sydney and 73 per cent in Brisbane, according to analysts STR – Mr Triguboff said he had confidence in the city’s hotel market.
“At this stage we would consider opening a second Meriton Suites within Melbourne CBD when the time is right,” he said.
He also flagged plans to develop a residential tower in the Victorian capital. “I will consider build-to-rent and build-to-sell if an appropriate site comes available and construction costs stabilise,” Mr Triguboff said.
While serviced apartments – a typically larger hotel suite with residential amenities such as kitchens and laundries – have surged in popularity since the pandemic, Mr Triguboff said he saw a gap in the hotel market for this product 20 years ago.
“I saw that there was a gap in the hotel accommodation market for groups of people and families who wanted to stay together when travelling,” he said,
Meriton Suites Melbourne opened nearly two years later than originally planned. 
“Before this everyone was booking small hotel rooms which only accommodated two people. They also lacked comforts that people would have at home, like fully equipped kitchens, laundries and spacious living areas.
“Today I see there are different types of travellers who like to stay together. For example, I see a lot of younger groups of friends which is perfect for our two- and three-bedroom suites,” he said.
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