Donald Trump has tabled fresh plans for a multimillion-pound investment in his Aberdeenshire golf resort – with a second course firmly back on the table.
The US businessman is submitting multiple applications to the local council for developments including a 400-capacity ballroom and banquet hall and a 30-room staff accommodation building.
There are also plans for an extension to the 19-bedroom MacLeod House and Lodge hotel on the Menie Estate, while a proposal of application notice is being lodged for the MacLeod Course, the second 18-hole attraction.
The move will be viewed as significant as Mr Trump had previously said he would not “invest another penny” in the site near Balmedie until plans for an offshore wind testing centre off the Aberdeen coast were abandoned.
The Trump Organisation has been locked in a lengthy legal battle in an effort to thwart the £230million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) – with the case now working its way through the secondary Inner House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Mr Trump had also increasingly turned his attention and investment to new sites he has acquired – Doonbeg in Ireland and Turnberry in Ayrshire.
However, last night, Mr Trump said: “I consider what we’ve created at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire to be one of my greatest achievements.
“We have incredible plans to further develop the site, and along with my investment at Turnberry, my commitment to Scotland is stronger than ever.”
Trump International Golf Links opened to great fanfare in July 2012, and is now in its third full playing season.
The hotel, which was granted five star status by VisitScotland, opened in winter 2013, while a clubhouse development is due to open in May.
George Sorial, executive vice-president of the Trump organisation, would not put a figure on the value of the latest investment, but said “it is full speed ahead” for the Menie site.
Mr Sorial added: “This will be a substantial investment – it really will allow us to carry out the original vision that Mr Trump had for the entire site. Our work there is not done.”
Mr Sorial said that further applications for leisure and residential units at the site are intended for later in the year.
The news that the Trump Organisation would be re-investing in the site was welcomed by leading business bodies.
Ian Armstrong, regional director for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, said: “At a time when there are some economic clouds on the horizon, the announcement of the plans by the Trump Organisation for further substantial investment in their site at Menie is a great boost to the region.
“The significance of a major international investor looking beyond short-term issues and adopting a long-term view should not be underestimated in terms of the fillip it provides to the North East of Scotland and its economy.”
Robert Collier, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The business community in the north-east will be pleased to welcome the continued investment in Trump International Golf Links.
“On top of the championship links course, five-star accommodation and a new clubhouse opening in May, the plans for a second course, banqueting facilities, infrastructure and a refreshed master-plan are confirmation that investment in the site continues to build a valuable asset for the region.”