Article

Trump threat to ditch £300m Scottish golfing resort

The businessman, whose mother was born on Lewis, warned his championship course, five-star hotel, golf academy and 500 holiday homes would be scrapped unless proposals for a nearby offshore wind farm were abandoned.

MULTI-BILLIONAIRE tycoon Donald Trump was last night heading for a showdown with environmental campaigners over 300 million plans for a world-class golf resort near Aberdeen.

The businessman, whose mother was born on Lewis, warned his championship course, five-star hotel, golf academy and 500 holiday homes would be scrapped unless proposals for a nearby offshore wind farm were abandoned.

He said his Trump Organisation had chosen the location - an 800-acre stretch of sand dunes on the Menie Estate, near Balmedie - after looking at 211 rival sites around the world, and that he would pull out of the deal immediately if it became mired in planning concerns.

"Either this will happen very quickly or it won't happen at all," he said yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Scotsman in his office on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

"This is a unique opportunity for the Scottish economy," he said. "This will be the greatest course in the world."

But in a robust conversation he expressed concern that "ocean views" from the planned development might be obscured by an offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay. Aberdeen Renewal Energy is conducting a feasibility study into a 33-turbine plant less than one mile off... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

MULTI-BILLIONAIRE tycoon Donald Trump was last night heading for a showdown with environmental campaigners over £300 million plans for a world-class golf resort near Aberdeen.
 
The businessman, whose mother was born on Lewis, warned his championship course, five-star hotel, golf academy and 500 holiday homes would be scrapped unless proposals for a nearby offshore wind farm were abandoned.
 
He said his Trump Organisation had chosen the location - an 800-acre stretch of sand dunes on the Menie Estate, near Balmedie - after looking at 211 rival sites around the world, and that he would pull out of the deal immediately if it became mired in planning concerns.
 
"Either this will happen very quickly or it won't happen at all," he said yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Scotsman in his office on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower in Manhattan.
 
"This is a unique opportunity for the Scottish economy," he said. "This will be the greatest course in the world."
 
But in a robust conversation he expressed concern that "ocean views" from the planned development might be obscured by an offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay. Aberdeen Renewal Energy is conducting a feasibility study into a 33-turbine plant less than one mile off the coast. Although the exact location is yet to be decided, the project has already received financial backing from the Scottish Executive's Cities Growth Fund, managed by Aberdeen City Council.
 
In March of last year Amec was appointed to carry out a £1 million feasibility study into the £40 million proposal.
 
The tycoon's press spokesman said the resort, to be called Trump International Golf Links, would be built in another country if a wind farm which blocked sea views went ahead. "If people want to ruin Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, then that's the end of it," said the spokesman.
 
Mr Trump said: "I really wanted this to be built in Scotland because of my family connection. My mother was Mary MacLeod. She was seriously Scotch."
 
He revealed he had recently visited the site before deciding to go ahead with the project - the company's first golfing venture in Europe. Work could begin by Sept-ember, with opening in spring, 2008.
 
Mr Trump said he would be taking a close interest in the course design. "I do like to play golf, and I know the architect, Tom Fazio II, will be excellent. This is going to be a fantastic project, the greatest course in the world. The courses we already have in Westchester, in California and in Florida are already considered the best in the country. This course in Scotland will be outstanding."
 
He denied his resort would impact on existing courses, such as Royal Aberdeen. "They have a great course, but are limited by the land they have. We have a great piece of land. There is room for more courses, but no room for mediocrity. I never like to get disappointed but we want to build a great course in Europe and I'd prefer it to be in Scotland. If we don't get to do this, we have too many other things on our plate. We'll just move on."
 
Mr Trump added: "When I saw this piece of land I was overwhelmed by the imposing dunes and rugged Aberdeenshire coastline. I knew that this was the perfect site for Trump International. I have never seen such an unspoilt and dramatic seaside landscape, and the location makes it perfect for our development."
 
He added that Jack McConnell, the First Minister, had phoned him "many times" to persuade him to choose Scotland over rival locations around the world.
 
"He was fantastic, and did a great job in persuading us," said Mr Trump.
 
Ian Dunlop, the area director for VisitScotland Grampian, called the development "an unbelievable tourism opportunity" for the area. He said: "This is hugely exciting news for Aberdeen and Grampian. The area has been crying out for an international resort development and this proposal, based on the wonderful quality of our North-east coastal environment, certainly fits the bill."
 
Geoff Runcie, the chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian chamber of commerce, said: "This announcement is fantastic news and will substantially raise the profile of the region and boost visitors, in addition to positioning Aberdeen city and shire firmly on the golfing map. Aberdeen has the perfect profile as a location for a development of this calibre."
 
Today Donald Trump is one of the most famous men in the United States, according to a recent poll which revealed that 98 per cent of US citizens knew who he was, a higher rating than Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. Yet even before starring in a the prime-time TV show The Apprentice, for which he is paid $3 million an episode, Mr Trump's name had long been writ large on Manhattan's sky-line.
 
When Trump Tower, a 68-storey retail, residential and office block, was constructed in the 1980s, it was the jewel in New York's property crown, and he was called "the prince of the city".
 
At the height of his success he had a portfolio of buildings and businesses from Trump Plaza and Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts to Trump Shuttle, his own airline and the Trump Princess, his own yacht. In 1989 he made it on to the cover of Time magazine as a success. One year later he was again on the magazine's cover, but this time the headline read: "Trump the Fall".
 
While he lost control of some businesses, he simply started up others and even published a best-selling book on The Art of the Comeback.
 
Forbes magazine lists his worth as $2.7 billion, but when Trump Nation, a book by Tom O'Brien, claimed he wasn't even a billionaire, he sued author and publisher.
 
Yesterday Mr Trump, whose catchphrase "You're fired!" is frequently used in The Apprentice , laughed when asked if it was unusual to be creating jobs rather than sacking staff. "That show gets number one ratings all around the world," he said. And he had words of advice for young Scottish entrepreneurs: "Work hard, love what you do - and if you don't, stop doing it. And never give up."
Website trumpets property magnate's crofting connection
 
DONALD Trump is fiercely proud of his Scottish ancestry, and the website for his £300 million golfing development in Aberdeenshire contains an entire section devoted to the genealogy of his mother.
 
Mary MacLeod was born in a croft on the Isle of Lewis in 1912 and raised in the small coastal village of Tong, four miles from Stornoway.
 
She emigrated to America at the age of 20, and was living in New York when she married local carpenter Fred Trump.
 
Donald, the second youngest of five children, first developed his passion for property development when he started working for his father, who had already established a successful property business in the Big Apple.
 
After graduating from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr Trump began investing in prime real estate in Manhattan.
 
He established the Trump Organisation in 1973 and, ten years later, unveiled the 68-storey Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
 
Mr Trump married for the third time in January last year, to Melania Knauss, a Slovenian model who is 25 years his junior.


Source: http://news.scotsman.com/ab...

APR 1 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1971-trump-threat-to-ditch-300m-scottish-golfing-resort
back to top