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Dubai-Based Group Buys Turnberry Resort


Leisurecorp, a Dubai-based investment company focused on the sports and leisure sector, has taken ownership of its latest acquisition, Turnberry Resort in Scotland.

First announced in May, the approximately $100 million deal has transferred ownership of Turnberry from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. to Leisurecorp. As part of the deal, Starwood has signed a 50-year management agreement with Leisurecorp to operate the hotel. Also, after an extensive restoration, the property will become a member of Starwood's Luxury Collection. On November 1, the hotel will close for a $50 million remodel in preparation of for the facility's hosting of the 138th Open Championship in July 2009.

Mary Fox Linton will lead the refurbishment. The project will restore the 101-year-old hotel to the vision of the original architect, James Miller. Working in conjunction with a heritage consultant, the renovations will ensure that the building's heritage is maintained while delivering newly designed hotel rooms and facilities.

Of the transaction, the CEO of Leisurecorp, Alan Rogers, said: "Turnberry is a significant addition to our property portfolio and we take seriously our responsibility to restoring the hotel and facilities to its former glory. When the eyes of the world fall upon Turnberry next summer, we are determined that the venue will stand tall with pride, taking its rightful place as one of the top golf courses in the world.

"At Leisurecorp, we have been lucky enough to have worked with some of the world's best performers in their fields, from sporting superstars to designers and architects. Since we announced the deal with Starwood in May, we have been working hard on the development plans and are delighted with Mary Fox Linton's appointment and her vision for Turnberry.

"Next week, Shanghai kicks off the inaugural Race to Dubai and arguably one of the most exciting seasons in the European Tour's history. For Leisurecorp, this will see three of our golf courses rise to the occasion with the South African Open at Pearl Valley Golf Estates, the Open Championship at Turnberry, and the Dubai World Championship to climax the season at Jumeirah Golf Estates. We are certain that each of these tournaments will prove our passion and commitment to the golf world."

Linton has remodeled an impressive list of historic hotels, including One Aldwych, London; The Dorchester Hotel, London; The Athenaeum, London; The Grove, Chandler's Cross; and Carlisle Bay Antigua.

Of her latest commission, Linton said: "The chance to restore this hotel to its former glory is a wonderful opportunity and I feel so passionate about it. When you arrive, you can't help but smile. The interiors of the hotel will be brought back to their original grandeur with a contemporary interpretation of James Miller's original vision for the hotel. I have tried to look at the hotel through the eyes of Miller and interpret what I think he would have envisioned for the hotel, maximising open spaces, comfort and of course the very best of quality."

About Leisurecorp

Leisurecorp was established by Dubai World in July 2006, to identify, acquire, develop and manage a portfolio of investments in the sports and leisure sectors in Dubai and around the world. Its portfolio includes Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai's premier residential golf community; Pearl Valley Golf Estates in South Africa, which will host the South African Open for the next two years; a major shareholding in Island Global Yachting, the owner, developer and manager of luxury marinas; a stake in Troon Golf, the world's leading luxury-brand golf management, development and marketing company; a shareholding in GPS Industries, the provider of Wi-Fi-enabled global positioning systems (GPS) for golf and residential communities; and a stake in Snowmass Colorado, a 2.8-million-square-foot redevelopment of one of North America's premier ski resorts.

In November 2007, Leisurecorp announced a wide-ranging partnership with the European Tour to createt Dubai World Championship, the world's richest golf tournament with a $10 million purse. To be held annually at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the tournament will be open to the players ranked No. 1 through 60 on The Race to Dubai - formerly the European Tour Order of Merit, with players having the chance at an additional $10 million bonus. From 2009, Jumeirah Golf Estates will also become home to the European Tour's International Headquarters.

For more information, visit www.leisurecorpmediacentre.com.