Friday, March 11, 2016

The Pipeline, march 11, 2016

     Caye Chapel Island, Belize. Three Mexican companies have teamed up to create what they believe will be “the most exclusive and spectacular tourist destination in Latin America.” The developers, a group led by Mexico City-based Thor Urbana Capital, will create their vacation spot on Caye Chapel Island, on property that’s currently home to an abandoned, formerly bankrupt resort community with an 18-hole golf course that was designed by its original owner. The existing track will be redesigned by Greg Norman, who’s been directed to create “an incomparable golf course” that “only an island like Caye Chapel can offer.” As Norman’s work proceeds, Thor Urbana and its partners intend to spiff up the resort’s existing amenities and add high-priced beachfront houses, a hotel, and other attractions. When the new Caye Chapel makes its formal debut, probably in 2017, they expect it to be “the home and meeting point of international jet setters.”

     Tam Điệp, Vietnam. Nicklaus Design has secured a commission for its third golf course in Vietnam. The firm’s president, Jack Nicklaus II, has agreed to create an 18-hole track at Royal Golf Club, the centerpiece of a resort community that occupies 1,675 acres along Yen Thang Lake, roughly 70 miles south of Hà Nội. Nicklaus aims to break ground on his layout this summer, with the official unveiling likely to come in late 2017 or early 2018. The Yen Thang Lake community is being developed by a government-controlled company, PV-Inconess Investment Corporation. It’s expected to eventually include 1,500 vacation villas and bungalows, a high-end hotel, a shopping area, a water park, a campground, restaurants, and a sports complex. The community’s golf club has an existing 18-hole course, a Peter Rousseau design that opened in 2010, and it’s eventually supposed to get a third 18-hole track.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the January 2016 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Wilmore, Kentucky. The “signature” wing of Nicklaus Design has been enlisted to create an 18-hole golf course for Legacy Point, a spread in suburban Lexington that aims to become “a magnificent community” and “a way of life.” Jack Nicklaus hasn’t yet begun to design the course. In a press release, he promises “to create an exceptional golf experience” on a site that has “enormous potential to create something unique and special.” A groundbreaking doesn’t appear to be on the immediate horizon, however, for the community’s developer, Legacy Point Capital, has begun advertising for investors eager “to participate in a quality deal and receive monthly returns.” Minimum investment: $5,000. For those who might be interested in writing a check, Legacy Point Capital describes itself as a “team of seasoned veterans and affinity relationships” that provides “transactional financial engineering services.”

     Hyderabad, India. In what will probably turn out to be an over-ambitious development gamble, Telangana’s tourism officials have set out to build as many as 10 golf courses on sites within an hour’s drive of the state’s capital city. The Hindu suggests that the program, if fully implemented, could turn Hyderabad into “one of the global golfing destinations in Asia.” At this time, the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation is looking for five viable sites, but the newspaper says that the number could go up to 10 “depending on the availability of land.” Without question, the state’s proposal faces significant challenges. For one thing, it’s difficult to assemble large properties in India. For another, water is scarce. In addition, environmentalist groups have already issued public warnings about the potential dangers of pesticide use on golf courses. Nonetheless, the state’s chief minister has reportedly blessed the idea, and the TSTDC hopes to break ground on the first course either this year or next.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the December 2015 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Naivasha, Kenya. A Nairobi-based development group has set out to bring world-class golf to Kenya. Panda Development Company, Ltd. has commissioned European Golf Design to produce an 18-hole layout for Aberdare Hills Golf Club, the centerpiece of a 1,665-acre, “eco-friendly” community in greater Nairobi. Gary Johnston, the course’s designer, believes that the site he’s working with is “truly fantastic,” with all the natural attributes necessary to create “one of the best courses in all Africa.” Over the years, Johnston has worked with Colin Montgomerie to produce courses in Turkey (Montgomerie Maxx Royal) and Morocco (Montgomerie Marrakech), and with Ian Woosman on courses in Bulgaria (Pirin Golf & Country Club) and St. Kitts (Irie Fields Golf Course at Kittitian Hill). He expects to open the course at Aberdare Hills in 2018.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the January 2016 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Pula, Croatia. The Croatian government wants to turn an abandoned military base on the Muzil Peninsula into a resort community with an 18-hole golf course. The Muzil project, as it’s being called, will create a 425-acre vacation spot that also includes 2,200 units of what’s been described as “high-quality accommodation,” a marina with slips for 380 boats, and other attractions. The base is located outside Pula, an ancient city along the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula that’s said to be “an internationally popular summer vacation destination,” with most travelers these days attracted by well-preserved structures that were created by the Roman Empire. The project is being promoted by Croatia’s ministry of tourism, which believes that the Pula Riviera, as it’s known, is a natural for resort development. The private-sector group that secures the concession will get a 99-year lease on the property.

     Óbidos, Portugal. After 15 years of planning and permitting, not to mention a change of ownership, Cynthia Dye has broken ground on her first golf course in Continental Europe. The Castle Pines, Colorado-based architect, born into one of the golf industry’s most recognized design families, is finally overseeing the construction of the 18-hole layout at Falesia D’El Rey, a 600-acre waterfront community on Portugal’s Silver Coast. “I have never worked so hard for so long to see a project through to construction,” she said in a press release. Dye, one of the principals of Dye Designs Group, expects the track at Falesia D’El Rey to open in the spring of 2017. She received lessons in golf architecture by working on courses designed by members of her family -- Pete Dye, Roy Dye, and P. B. Dye -- and she applied those lessons at her own courses in China (among them West Coast Golf Club on Hainan Island), New Caledonia (Exclusiv’ Golf de Deva Club in Bourail), and Azerbaijan (Dreamland Golf Club in Baku). Falesia D’El Rey was initiated by affiliates of Beltico Group, an entity that now appears to be insolvent.

     Salalah, Oman. A high-octane Omani developer hasn’t given up on its dream of creating “the Venice of the Middle East.” Muriya Tourism Development Company’s little slice of Italy, a resort community called Salalah Beach, is slowly taking shape on 3,850 acres along Oman’s southern coast. It’s been master-planned to fuse “the best of modern amenities and night life” with “an age-old Arabian charm,” and at build-out it’ll will have houses, five hotels, a town center on the waterfront, a marina, and two 18-hole, David Hemstock-designed golf courses. Muriya was created by Omran, the tourism-development arm of the Omani government. Omran enlisted an affiliate of Orascom Development Holding, a Swiss company, as its private-sector partner, in large part because Orascom has a proven, bankable vision for resort communities in the Middle East. Under the direction of Samih Sawiris, Orascom has built two huge, wildly popular golf-focused resorts in Egypt, the famed El Gouna spread on the Red Sea coast and Taba Heights, which is along the Gulf of Aqaba on the Sinai Peninsula. Today it’s developing Luštica Bay, a 1,400-acre resort community along the Adriatic coast in Montenegro; Andermatt, a mountain resort in the Swiss Alps; and Chbika, a 1,235-acre spread in Morocco’s Sahara Desert.

     The original version of the preceding post first appeared in the May 2014 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

     Dallas, Texas. The future home of AT&T Byron Nelson is getting ready for its close-up. I’m talking, of course, about the Coore & Crenshaw-designed track at Trinity Forest Golf Club, which figures to become the city’s top choice for professional tournaments. Prospective members are already playing on some holes, and the club’s developers are polishing their marketing pitches. “It looks better than I could have dreamed,” one of them told the Dallas Morning News. “The experts in professional golf and golf course architecture that have been out here have been blown away. It has exceeded our expectations.” The club is on track to open this fall, possibly by Labor Day.

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