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It is Stratalive's Sixth Anniversary

Monday, 20th June 2016

Centre - Harry at the opening of Mascot Central

Thanks to all our sponsors...

Exactly six years ago today I started this website.  In a date of fate, it was also sixteen years ago today that I walked into the offices of the country's number one apartment developer, Harry Triguboff, for the very first time.

Aside from those anniversaries today, strata issues loom as per normal this morning as I fight for a gorgeous elderly lady, Essie, to keep her pooch of 12 years, Muppet, from being evicted from her building.  That is a fight I have every intention of winning.

 

I probably wouldn't even be in strata and in a position to help strata residents if it wasn't for Harry Triguboff.  He has been a staunch supporter of me and this website.   I still laugh when I think back to that first "interview" all those years ago.

I had followed Harry's life, career and his Meriton empire religiously throughout my own career.  One of the perks of being appointed property editor for a leading major newspaper was the opportunity to meet the doyens of the property industry.  The top of my wish list to interview was Harry Triguboff.  With a mutual passion for property, I thought we would get on like a house on fire.  Well, that was something a cold bucket of water could fix.

There I was on that fateful day, painfully uncomfortable.  Without lifting his head, this man who I had hero-worshipped almost my entire life, pointed with his pen in the general direction of the chair opposite him whilst still reading the papers in front of him.  Neither of us spoke a word.

Although he was, and still is to this day, infamous for his unpredictability, I was certainly not expecting such a cold reception.  The longer I was left to stare at the crown of his silver-haired head, the more the nerves subsided and irritation took over.

I knew the media at the time had not been kind to Harry Triguboff and I was one of them.  This was obviously his way of making a point.  I still had not seen the colour of his eyes or heard the sound of his voice.

Finally, after what seemed a lifetime, and still without lifting his head, he asked me what I wanted.  I didn't answer.  I stood up, turned on my heel and started for the door. 

In a flash he was right behind me.

"Come. Let's sit over here on the couch," he said.

"I do not like the media.  They have not been kind to me.  They don't even come and look at what I am building before writing rubbish.

"My indifference is not directed at you personally but your entire lot," he said.

Remember, to this point I had still not said a single word.

Then, in the space of mere seconds, hostile Harry was gone.  With a disarming smile he asked me what I would like to talk about.  If this was a bloke's second crack at making a first impression, it was working.  I was rocked by the transformation from the devil wears Armani to Prince Charming.  If they took that charm and bottled it, it would sell for more than his apartments.

With only a small window allocated to talk to him, half of that already taken up in silence, I knew I had to shake it off and jump right in.  When his assistant walked in a short time later to remind him of a meeting he waved her off and continued our conversation.  We spoke for well over an hour and from that day I became even more fascinated with what Harry was doing and where.

He was right.  The media had been unfair to him.  They had not met with him nor had they seen any of his projects.  They wrote blind from behind a keyboard  in a newsroom without setting foot in any Meriton project.  He was within his rights to bare a grudge. These days there has been a huge turnaround and Harry has a very good relationship with the media.

But hey, what better way to silence the naysayers?  Years on, Meriton is a huge empire and Harry is now the richest person in Australia.  He is the most successful businessman in the country.  Not because he was, as people say, in the right place at the right time.  it is because he created that right time and place when he put the master into planning.

Harry and I have become fast friends over the last 16 years.  Stratalive would not have been possible without his support and our world's continue to collide with many Meriton owners now members of Stratalive.

I feel honoured to have spent so much time with Harry over the years.  It is absolutely true he displays his passion with much yelling - accompanied by his legendary colourful language - but that is how he keeps everyone alert and on their toes and how he gets the best from people.  From one minute to the next, you never know what to expect.  Because he has a remarkable ability to retain information and has the memory or an elephant, you can't get away with anything less than knowing all the facts.  He is going to be sharper and smarter every time.

Those who work at Meriton love working there and see it as an amazing opportunity.  Harry values and trusts everybody who works for him and transparency is a natural culture.  If you work within the walls of Meriton, you are in the inner circle and Harry is completely comfortable walking around talking to anybody about anything and everything.  He doesn't close doors.  As much as he can he has an open door policy and it is not unusual to go to his office and have 10 people in there talking about 10 different things and he is having input into every conversation.  He is absolutely extraordinary to watch in action. 

Every door in every Meriton building holds the key to Harry's success.  Every move he has made has been premeditated to precision.  How often to you hear people say, "there goes two hours of my day I will never get back"?  Harry's philosophy, whether intentional or not, is giving back the world's greatest commodity.  He gives back time that people might otherwise feel they have lost.

One couple looking at a Meriton building told me that living in one of Harry's buildings had saved them 50 hours a week that was normally spent travelling to and from work, to the supermarket, to the gym, to childcare and medical appointments.  Not to mention cleaning a huge house and maintaining a 1,000 square metre garden in a suburb on the outskirts of Sydney. The convenience of living in a Meriton building gave them 50 hours extra a week to spend with their 17-month old twins.  For working parents strata living in now the preferred lifestyle and this is why Harry now builds oversized three-bedroom plus apartments for families.  Strata living is no longer about singles and couples, it is about giving families more valued time together.

When you are around Harry, it doesn't pay to have a favourite of his 'buildren' as I affectionately call his massive pipeline of projects.  He loves each project equally.  I on the other hand, have a favourite project.  Mascot Central stands out to me as a true reflection of Harry's vision over the years.

At Mascot, he has regenerated one of the oldest, most established suburbs in Sydney to offer residents the best lifestyle imaginable. 

Mascot Central is across the road from the train and bus stations, minutes to the city in one direction and Sydney Airport in the other.  The apartments are stunning with Meriton's larger family-friendly floor plans and gorgeous views over Sydney.  There are wonderful open spaces and wellbeing facilities within the development for residents to enjoy.  There is not one childcare centre on site, but two.  With a retail precinct including Woolworths, restaurants, specialty shops and a medical centre literally on the doorstep, the need to travel to get anywhere is at a bare minimum.  Living has never been easier or more convenient.  This is strata at its finest hour.

I love having Harry in my life.  He keeps me grounded.  He has made me believe that mediocracy is totally over-rated and that you will only ever be noticed if you stand out.  To be so insightful and to change the lives of so many people is extraordinary.

Today I am trying to change the life of just one gorgeous lady whose owners corporation is bullying to make her get rid of her dog.  She has been living with her little poodle in the same apartment for over 12 years.  I went to a meeting with the exectuve committee this morning and by their admission, the dog has not caused a single problem to anyone in the building.  They want to get rid of another dog in the building that is causing problems and they thought fair is fair.  If one had to go, they all had to go.  That is the very reason we started the Nike Pet Program on Stratalive.  We fight for starta owner's rights to keep their pet unless of course, the said pet is causing issues for other residents.  Nine times out of 10, the request to remove the pet is unfair and unreasonable.  Separating Essie from her beloved Muppet would be cruel on both and the Nike Pet Program is there to protect owners and their pets from unfair eviction.  So while Harry looks after the big picture, I continue to look after my little niche.

I started Stratalive for strata owners, many of whom refer to Stratalive as their own.  I thank the long term sponsors of the site who have been with us since day one including Meriton, CHU Insurance, Kelly + Partners, Macquarie Bank, a number of strata lawyers, strata managers and suppliers.  Because of their support we are in the position to help apartment owners across NSW who might otherwise not be able to find help.

I take today to thank everyone who has been involved in Stratalive.  At Stratalive, June 20 will always be known as Strata Day and while Harry is spending his day changing the landscape of a new strata era in a massive contribution to progress, my biggest challenge today is to ensure Essie and Muppet get to stay together. Not as ambitious, but no less important. Strata from both ends of the spectrum.

By Cindy Martin - Founder Stratalive

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Comment from Glassman on Wednesday, 04th January 2017

This is really a great story to read which inspired me a lot. After reading Strata live journey and your hard work to develop that company. I have read from superiorpaper reviews that you have brought it to this level and successfully completed six years journey with very good memories from the work you done through this company to people.

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Comment from stratachick on Sunday, 10th July 2016

I hope Essie got to keep Muppet.  I live in a Meriton building and I love it here for exactly the same reason as the lady with the twins.  It is such convenient living and once I do a quick clean on a Saturday morning I have the rest of the weekend to myself.  My neighbours are all very nice.  I live on my own by I have a family on one side, a couple on the other and a very nice single doctor down the hall :)  Feel very safe and love it here.  Great story.  Funny about Harry Triguboff giving you the cold shoulder when you first met and then you end up being good friends.  That is really cool.  Makes him more human...

Comment from jenny on Sunday, 26th June 2016

I don't know Harry Triguboff but I know many other very successful business people and it is invigorating just to be around them.  They are always 10 paces ahead.  I think Mr Triguboff would be that with bells on. 

Comment from AGM on Tuesday, 21st June 2016

Yep. Nice story. Harry certainly has worked for that new title of his. This site saves us precious time as well so dont underestimate your contribution. Strata can be a minefield and Stratalive is a great resource.

Comment from Libby on Tuesday, 21st June 2016

Hi Cindy

I came on this site the first week it went live and I have had so much help on the forum from the lawyers like Daniel Russell.  Happy Anniversary Stratalive and thank you Mr Triguboff for helping make this site possible. Really nice story.  Libby.

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