Sunday, November 02, 2008

Credit crunch
forces Lyle
Anderson to
put Loch
Lomond GC
on market

A new owner is being sought for one of Scotland's most exclusive golf clubs after its current proprietor was hit by the credit crunch.
Loch Lomond Golf Club, whose members include Prince Andrew and Sir Sean Connery, has been put into the hands of a US firm of business recovery specialists amid financial problems.
The move came after its Arizona-based owner Lyle Anderson failed to renegotiate his debts with the Bank of Scotland. Mr Anderson will co-operate with the bank in finding new owners for the exclusive club.
The venue, which hosts the Scottish Open, also recently held the £1m wedding of golfer Colin Montgomerie and his new wife Gaynor. Other celebrities to have played its course include Clint Eastwood and Robbie Williams.
Its 700-strong membership is thought to include no more than 100 UK members, each paying annual fees of up to £40,000.
In a letter to members, Mr Anderson said: "I am confident the bank shares my view that Loch Lomond Golf Club is one of a kind in the world.
"I have explored many alternatives, including restructured loan arrangements and potential sources and terms for additional equity.
"Regrettably, I have been unable to conclude arrangements for a restructured credit facility with the Bank and have been unable to raise new equity or debt."
He wrote that plans to take "a co-operative approach with the bank" to avoid disruption at the club and said he had agreed to "facilitate change of ownership at the appropriate time".
Mr Anderson added that he is pursuing his own "vigorous independent search for new equity or debt funding for the communities and clubs."
A Loch Lomond member, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Anderson's letter was the first communication they had received since rumours began sweeping the clubhouse in recent weeks.
The tycoon's plans for a 140-acre park, including a golf course and housing in Hawaii, also in conjunction with Bank of Scotland, was held up earlier this year over funding concerns.
Meanwhile, the billionaire owner of an iconic Scottish building faces legal action if he fails to tidy it up before it serves as the backdrop to the Open Championship in 2010.
Anger is mounting in St Andrews over the condition of the former Hamilton Hall student residence, which overlooks the 18th green of the historic Old Course.
The landmark Victorian multi-storey property, which featured in the film, Chariots of Fire, was bought from St Andrews University by an American real estate firm in 2004 for a reputed £22 million.
But the distinctive red sandstone building has been lying empty ever since and is now showing clear signs of deterioration.
Planners are trying to force US property tycoon David Wasserman to carry out urgent repairs on the building before pictures of its crumbling state are beamed around the world during the Open Championship in 2010.
If Mr Wasserman fails to improve the appearance of the B-listed building, which has pigeons roosting on the windowsills, Fife Council is threatening to gain entry, carry out the needed work, and send him the bill.
Council officials have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to contact Mr Wasserman, whose Rhode Island-based Wasserman Real Estate Capital bought the six-storey building four years ago.
Last month, Mr Wasserman was quoted as saying he planned to scale back his original plans for luxury apartments. He was not available for comment.



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