When the first sod was laid on Donald Trump's billion-dollar championship golf resort in Scotland last April, few people could have predicted that less than a year later the whole project would be under threat.
The flamboyant American billionaire has publicly stated his intention of building "the greatest golf course in the world" on a stretch of protected sand dunes on the Aberdeenshire coast near Menie. After a five-year planning battle to face down the objections of local campaigners and environmental groups, Trump himself cut the ribbon to start construction work in June 2010 -- and progress since then has been swift.
The 18-hole championship links course, designed by leading golf architect Dr. Martin Hawtree, will open in mid-2012. But the accompanying hotel and leisure resort, nearly 1,500 holiday homes and houses plus a second course have been put on hold because of plans by a leading renewable energy supplier, Vattenfall, to build 11 giant wind turbines about a mile and a half off the coast from Trump's land.
He has reacted furiously by threatening to mothball the project, and reportedly donated $15.9 million to an anti-wind farm group, Communities against Turbines Scotland. George Sorial, Trump's attorney, told CNN that his boss was so angry because he believes the Scottish authorities had not kept to promises made back in 2006. "We were consistently told that there would not be wind turbines in this area of the coastline," he said.
What happens next will be anyone's guess, but for now Trump's planned $1.2 billion investment appears in the balance and has left Salmond, who is renowned as being "canny," with a difficult dilemma. And in a sign that Trump may be turning his attentions elsewhere, his organization announced it would be buying the famous Doral Resort & Spa in Florida out of bankruptcy for $150 million.
The 800-acre resort complex -- which hosts the 2012 edition of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in early March -- includes four golf courses, 700 hotel rooms across 10 lodges and a range of other retail and leisure facilities.
It has been in bankruptcy since early 2011 after the property market turned sour in the United States.
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