News Column

Donald Trump to buy Irish resort built by South Carolina's Kiawah Partners

February 11, 2014

By John McDermott, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.

Feb. 11--The Donald is buying Doonbeg.

New York real estate investor and TV personality Donald Trump announced today he's buying the financially ailing Irish golf resort that was developed by South Carolina'sKiawah Partners, according to numerous news reports.

Kiawah Partners, which referred question to the Trump Organization today, placed the swanky, money-losing getaway in Ireland into receivership as part of plan to sell it. The firm appointed officials from the accounting firm EY to run Doonbeg Golf Club and the 39-room Lodge at Doonbeg until the eventual sale.

The move comes about six months after South Street Partners bought Kiawah Partners. At the time of the purchase, the Charlotte-based investment firm said it was evaluating what to do with the overseas properties that were part of the deal. Its plan was to focus on selling the residential lots it had purchased on Kiawah Island.

Under its previous ownership, Kiawah Partners looked across the Atlantic for its first big overseas real estate deal more than a decade ago.

The resort and its acclaimed Greg Norman-designed links-style course are in County Clare, on the rugged west coast of Ireland. When Doonbeg was ready for play in mid-2002, more than 170 members had paid a $50,000 initiation fee.

The resort has never made money, and the total losses exceeded $70 million through 2011, according to public filings reported in the Irish press.

Ireland's housing bust and other struggles since the 2008 global financial crisis continued to hurt the resort. Also Doonbeg's remote location was considered a hindrance.

The sale to Trump marks his second business connection to the Lowcountry. Son Donald Trump Jr. is a investor in a North Charleston real estate development.


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Source: Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)

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