Trump International Golf Links earns approval for second course at Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire resort
Golf and Politics

Trump International Golf Links earns approval for second course at Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire resort

President Donald Trump's Trump Organization has won approval from local government to build a second course at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

According to multiple reports, Aberdeenshire committee councilors approved plans for a second course on Tuesday. The second course is dubbed the MacLeod Course and named in honor of Trump's mother Mary, who is of Scottish descent. The MacLeod Course was announced in 2013, a year after the resort opened to the public with the Martin Hawtree-designed original course. However, the plans for the second course, also designed by Hawtree, were never submitted for approval.

The course was approved provided the Trump Organization addressed 15 specific concerns of the committee, which voted 8 to 4 to approve the development. The council wants assurances of minimizing environmental impact on the area, including plans to preserve protected species like badgers and otters. Council members voting against the project were unhappy with the expected environmental impact, despite any potential assurances, as well supporting the Trump Organization.

In addition to a planned expansion of the golf offerings at Trump International, the Trump Organization has proposed a luxury real estate development with 500 units built on property. That plan, submitted separately, will be voted upon on Thursday.

The $200 million expansion was announced in July 2018, and also included plans for 50 cottages, a sports center, a shopping center and a horse riding facility. The Trump Organization said it planned to begin construction in 2019 on the homes, which will be built over 3-5 years and will sell for a minimum of $387,000 up to several million dollars. As part of the development's original approval in 2008, the Trump Organization was authorized to build 2,750 homes on the 1,500-acre property, provided a golf course was opened first.

A third-party economist estimated these developments will mean approximately $328 million to the regional economy.

When Trump International Golf Links was first approved by local government, the Trump Organization promised a total $1.3 billion investment. Through 2017, the Trump Organization had spent approximately one-tenth that figure, with the company choosing to withhold investment in the resort in protest of a planned (and since built) wind farm off the shores of the property.

To this point, the Aberdeen resort has been unable to turn a profit, and it has been able to take advantage of special tax breaks to help soften losses.

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