September 27, 2019

Trump Organization Receives Approval to Expand Golf Resort in Scotland
WASHINGTON -- Despite opposition from many local residents, the Trump Organization on Thursday received approval in Scotland for what will be the largest new company-financed real estate development project since President Donald Trump was elected: a major expansion of its golf resort near the northeast port city of Aberdeen.The plans call for the construction of 500 homes, 50 hotel cottages, and sports and retail complexes next to the Trump family's Aberdeen golf club, which has struggled financially since the company purchased the property more than a decade ago. A second 18-hole golf course is also planned on the 1,500-acre site, north of Aberdeen.The first phase of this project is more modest: about 80 homes and five hotel lodges, documents show.But unlike most of the recent Trump projects, this is not simply a matter of selling the Trump name or hotel management services. The Trump Organization would be the real estate developer on the project, which could cost an estimated $180 million if it is entirely built out as approved this week.The Trump Organization is already attempting to sell these new homes, as part of what it intends to call Trump Estate, with the highest-end homes not far from the North Sea coastline selling for prices of more than $1.6 million.The project won approval of the local Aberdeenshire Government council by a 38-24 vote on Thursday, despite intense opposition by many area residents. All but three of the 2,918 formal comments the government received voiced opposition to the plan, and one of those objections included a petition with 18,722 names on it, government records show.The Trump Organization had previously promised to build a 450-room hotel at the site, but those plans were abandoned, an Aberdeen official said, as "no longer economically viable."Martin Ford, a member of the Aberdeenshire Council who is critical of Trump, said the government should not have agreed to the housing complex after the Trump family backed away from the planned hotel, which he said would have aided the local economy."Instead of a golf resort with thousands of jobs at a hotel that he promised to build, what we are left with is a destroyed natural conservancy site that we will never get back and housing in an inappropriate rural location," Ford, who abstained from the vote because of his past criticism of Trump's statements about immigrants and women, said in an interview.Trump also provoked protests in the region when he unsuccessfully attempted to block the construction of a nearby offshore wind farm.Trump had promised no new international deals after he was elected president. But the Trump family has continued to push ahead with construction projects at international properties it already owned or had marketing agreements with, including in India, Indonesia and Uruguay.In a tweet on Thursday, one of the president's sons, Eric Trump, celebrated the move by Scottish officials."Congratulations to our extraordinary @TrumpScotland team!" he wrote.The Aberdeen golf course lost more than $1 million in 2017, the latest in a string of financial losses both for that golf club and a second Scottish golf resort the Trump family owns near Glasgow, about 200 miles to the southwest.The Glasgow-area golf course, which already has a large hotel, has drawn its own headlines recently, as it has hosted several dozen Defense Department aircrews and passengers that use an airport for overnight refueling stops.The move to expand the club in Aberdeen -- which currently has only a 16-bedroom hotel -- comes as some of the company's plans in North America have encountered problems.The company announced, and then abandoned, plans to open two new mid-price hotel brands in the United States, and it has seen its name removed from hotel properties and residential towers in New York and Toronto, among other locations.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
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