Jul 3rd, 2016
gWest International Resort back on course
6 years after global economic crash
Words: John Dean
Work has started again on the gWest International Resort near Gleneagles in Perthshire, six years after the global crash stopped the project in its tracks.
The original plan was for a Championship Golf Course, an exclusive gated community, and a luxury hotel.
The project was financed by the al-Tajir family, which owns Highland Springs, and came with a £500 million price tag when it was unveiled in 2007.
Ochil Developments (UK) has now resumed work on the 650-acre site. 120,000 trees have already been planted, and the clubhouse built.
Plots up to four acres in size can be purchased, although they will all cost you well into seven figures.
The developers have now announced the second phase, which will include a suite-only “ultra-luxury hotel”, spa, shooting school and fishing.
Project director Stuart Davie confirmed: “We are back up and at it. It is a major milestone for us.
“When this project was first mooted the world economy was in a good place. No one anticipated the scale of the financial troubles back in 2010 but the al-Tajir family have never lost their belief in the gWest project.
“They have backed it to the hilt and remain committed to ensuring this development is successful, for Perthshire and for Scotland. The family have always been comfortable with the level of investment required.
“The al-Tajirs have committed heavily to Scotland through Highland Spring and Blackford Farms.
“The gWest International Resort in Scotland was always a long-term commitment and it is something unique to this country.”
Names linked to the development have included Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Sean Connery.
Mr Davie said: “Sir Alex is a friend of the family and visits on occasion when he is in this part of the world. We have heard all the rumours and just sit back and chuckle.
“We believe there will be a number of wealthy Scots who will buy here, primarily ex-pats. But we are in a global market and prospective buyers will come from different parts of the world.”
The 18-hole golf course, designed by leading Scots architect David McLay Kidd, has been played only by a select handful of wealthy businessmen since it was completed. Work on the clubhouse also went on hold during the recession.
Mr Davie revealed major investment will enhance the golf course, which will be a private members club in the vein of Loch Lomond and The Renaissance.
Mr Davie said: “We have re-commenced phase one of the project, incorporating completion of the clubhouse and the golf course, the entrance gateway, nearly 6km of roadways and opening-up the first 26 plots. A five-bedroom show house will be opened in July next year.
“The clubhouse has been wind and watertight since 2012. It has been sitting there ready to go and now we have the green light to work on the interior and we have a 10-month period for completion.
In resurrecting the development, a 13-strong green keeping team has begun fine-tuning the par 72 championship course.”
Mr Davie said: “Work on the course started in 2007 and was completed two years later. Our green staff took over maintenance from the contractor in 2010.
“In 2013 we invited 64 of Scotland’s foremost business people to play the course. All we wanted was a critic and the feedback was very positive in terms of playability, its location and its vista. The location is here glorious, quite stunning.”