Trump's golf plans "ahead of schedule"

by Pete Hayman | 19 Feb 2009

Donald Trump's plans to establish a new £1bn golf resort on the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, are continuing ahead of schedule despite the news that the American tycoon's casino group had filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.

Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER), which owns three casinos in Atlantic City, US, filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy code having failed to meet a US$53m (£37m) interest payment at the start of December. However, Trump is no longer involved with the management of TER, and issues affecting the casino group will have no impact on the Trump Organisation's plans for the new golf resort in Scotland according to the man leading the project, George Sorial.

Sorial explained that the relationship between the publicly-traded TER company and the Trump International Golf Links venture, as well as the Trump Organisation, is "like comparing apples to oranges." "The project in Scotland is fully funded," said Sorial. "We have no debt, and the entire series of acquisitions have been financed by Trump himself.

"It's moving along a lot faster than expected. Despite the way the economy is, we're very well positioned." Trump's plans for the development, including two 18-hole golf courses, a clubhouse, a caddyshack, a short-game practice area and driving range, as well as a 450-room hotel with conference centre and spa, and 950 holiday apartments, finally received outline planning approval in December following a public inquiry.

Detailed plans are currently under development, although Sorial revealed that the company is currently taking advantage of favourable exchange rates, which are at their lowest since the mid-1980s, as well as a decline in the UK labour market and the decreasing cost of raw material. "Even though there's a lot of doom and gloom, there are silver linings out there," he said. "With Scotland, you have to look for silver linings, and we're very fortunate. In a way, the public inquiry delay ironically worked to our benefit."

Sorial said that it is expected to take a year for a detailed masterplan to be developed, with detailed approval in place by the end of the year or early 2009, while also expressing optimism for the future of the project. He added: "A year from now, hopefully we're sitting in better market conditions. Down cycles are usually followed by rapid and aggressive growth. That's why we believe we're well positioned."

Donald Trump's plans to establish a new £1bn golf resort on the Menie Estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, are continuing ahead of schedule despite the news that the American tycoon's casino group had filed for bankruptcy protection in the US. Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER), which owns three casinos in Atlantic City, US, filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy code having failed to meet a US$53m (£37m)
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