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Southbanker

09 Jun 2016

Southbanker Image

As a Southbank resident of more than 10 years, Arji Fry has witnessed the suburb mature rapidly around her since first moving into her City Rd apartment.

“Well I had a view!” Arji said. “I had a fabulous view all the way to Williams St and I could see the river and even the PwC building wasn’t there so it’s all built up around me quite quickly,” she said.

“I didn’t buy this apartment for the view I bought it for the location and I still love the location. I wish we had more of a street life but it’s coming!”

Egyptian born, Arji immigrated to Australia in the 1960s with her parents and was schooled here in Melbourne.

Having returned home from living in Asia for 12 years in 2004, Arji said she originally bought her apartment at The Summit solely for investment purposes before falling in love with it and staying.

She said while she loved the inner-city lifestyle of being able to walk anywhere from South Melbourne market to the Toff in Town for live music, the one thing lacking was a place to take her best friend, pet Coco, for a walk.

“The only thing that annoys me is that we just don’t have a park where I can take Coco and for her to be able to have a run I have to drive to either Faulkner Park or Gasworks and that’s disappointing,” she said.

“That’s why I’m hoping something will happen with Boyd. I’d love to see Boyd turned into a full park and I’d like to see some barbecues there.”

It’s that yearning for more local services and activation, which has led to Arji’s involvement in many community groups.

Not only is she the chair of The Summit’s owners’ corporation, but she is also treasurer of Southbank Residents’ Association.

She said that, since joining, Southbank’s voice under the leadership of the group’s president Tony Penna was constantly getting louder.

“We need a voice and he’s the perfect person,” she said.  “He’s got the passion, he’s got the intellect and somehow he’s got the time so we just need to support him as much as possible.”

“People just need to join and just give us that kind of support because the more numbers we have the more we’ll be listened to. The growth of the organisation has definitely made an impact absolutely.”

Having also previously worked for prominent Southbank developer Central Equity, Arji has operated her own successful short-stay accommodation business in the area for several years.

She said the response to short-stay guests in Southbank was like “chalk and cheese” compared with the troubles experienced with our neighbours in Docklands.

“It’s been real success for me and if you look at my feedback it’s how good an operator you are and you’re not going to succeed if you’re not a good operator anyway,” she said.

“I have so much repeat business so it works for me. I have never, ever had a problem!”

She said joining Southbank Residents’ Association and being involved with the Southbank Owners’ Corporation Network had been a great way of networking with residents and operators in other buildings.

More importantly, she said events such as the recent Southbank Trivia Night at Boyd, which the association was largely responsible for helping organise, had helped her realise just how big the Southbank community was.

“I’ve been totally surprised by the size of this community,” she said. “For the trivia I thought we might get 30 or 40 people and we were turning people away. We need to do it more often.”

“We’re not going anywhere I love Southbank, why would I go? Where would I go”!

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