Home' In The City : Summer Contents Paintbox
Monday November 30, 2009
Johnathan Efkarpidis wants to live close to
his family and his place of work in a bigger
and better Canberra while contributing to a
more sustainable future -- and with his can-do
attitude, he is making these things happen.
As the trendy 36-year-old property developer
passionately delivers his many ideas for the future of
Canberra, you can't help but wonder how he sleeps
Despite his busy schedule, the property developer is
surprisingly relaxed (it must be the pilates workouts) as
he sips his cup of lemon-infused tea and casually chats
about what sounds like the perfect Canberra lifestyle.
As the director of his family's business, The Molonglo
Group, Mr Efkarpidis has the vehicle to release some of
his innovative ideas into the public sphere.
"We're not your typical kind of property developers,"
he states proudly.
"We're kind of like active landlords; we get
involved in a whole lot of different things. With
all of our developments we integrate art, cultural
programming, high-end design and architecture, and
Despite his involvement in an obviously large and
successful business, the down-to-earth Canberran is
zealous about the power of small businesses.
"I only support small businesses; I don't shop at
Woolworths and Coles. I shop at an IGA or a smaller
market or organic shop."
If Canberra is to become more "vibrant and creative",
Mr Efkarpidis believes Canberrans need to start
investing in small businesses.
"Sydney doesn't have much going for it except for
the beauty and beaches, but look what happened to
Melbourne? We have plenty of great things going on
here, it's just that they aren't promoted well."
In a bid to save money, time and the environment, Mr
Efkarpidis has chosen to reside in New Acton, where
he also works.
"I think you have to work where you live because it's
such a big thing -- you shouldn't have to drive to work.
My daughter is nine months old and I get to see her
more often because I can walk home," he smiles.
Using his car less often is not the only way in
which Mr Efkarpidisintends to contribute to a more
"In New Acton we are currently working on the
highest sustainable residential building in the country for
multiuse development. We will have planted 300 trees
on this site by the time we're finished with it."
According to Mr Efkarpidis, sustainability isn't just
about correct water and light usage -- it is about trees,
dual waste bins, and perhaps even a fruit piazza where
residents "can pick an apple straight from the tree".
"A lot of people say it's hogwash about the
environment, but they are living with their eyes shut.
All businesses are going in greener direction and if you
want to make money and grow -- you've
got no choice. If you don't do it you're
not going to be around for long. You
can't tell me you would rather
live in a desert than
lie under a nice
Man Outside of New Acton, where do you
like to go for a coffee or a drink?
Hippo Bar, Italian and Sons, and Debacle.
What's the best thing about Canberra?
Like Melbourne has its laneways, Canberra has
its little inner city suburban shopping centres --
they're pockets of creativity. That's what makes
us unique -- Braddon is like our Brunswick.
What is Canberra's hidden gem?
The Arc Cinema -- at the National Film and
Sound Archive. It's quite a beautiful old cinema
and I think a lot of people don't know about it.
If you could change one thing about the
city, what would it be?
I'd like more people. I don't think we need to
be at two million, but it would be good to be at
500,000 or 700,000.
What changes would you like to see in
the next 10 years?
I'd like to see a train system but that's not
going to happen. We need a better way to
navigate around Canberra. I'd really like to see
international flights come to Canberra as well.
What do you suggest Canberrans do
this summer? Plant a tree.
Not your typical kind of property developer,
Johnathan Efkarpidis is contributing to a more
vibrant and creative Canberra. BY NAOMI FALLON
Photographer: Holly Treadaway
Jonathan Efkarpidis with his daughter
Calypso, nine months, in New Acton
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