From Hamilton Hall to the Hamilton Grand: Kohler Redesigns St. Andrews
When we last left Herbert Kohler, he had just purchased the large building at St. Andrews called Hamilton Hall. It was originally The St. Andrews Grand, a hotel built in the early 1900s, then became an Army barracks, then was purchased by the University of St. Andrews to house dormitory students. It was then purchased by the Wasserman Group, a real estate development group out of New York, whose plans were to build million dollar plus fractionals. This plan fell through because, in part, it did not sit well with the townspeople.
All the while, Herbert Kohler was well-known to St. Andrews, as he had purchased The Old Course Hotel, one of the great landmarks on the course at St. Andrews, in 2004. He had quietly and expertly renovated it, using many town workers and consultants. Indeed, the Managing Director of the Old Course is herself from Scotland. When Hamilton Hall became available, he purchased it in November of last year, and planned to hold an open town hall forum, asking the people of the town and interested others, for feedback as to how he should proceed with the renovation and restoration of Hamilton Hall. Here's what happened.
The people of St Andrews gave their overwhelming support to the proposals which Kohler Co., the new owners of Hamilton Hall, unveiled recently at the Community Exhibition in the Town Hall in February of 2010. 95% of respondents declared in the Exhibition Questionnaire that they were either very positive (67%) or positive (28%) about the proposals. Nearly 350 people attended the two day Exhibition. Herb Kohler, Chairman and CEO of Kohler Co. was also present at the Exhibition for parts of both days and later expressed his delight at the level of interest and enthusiasm taken in his company's plans for Hamilton Hall.
Scott Anderson, Hospitality and Real Estate Group President, explains further: " The community seemed to know and understand the level of quality that Kohler brings to the table, and they were pleased, also, that they were asked for their opinions. We were surprised and gratified that so many were willing to discuss what they wanted. Here are the plans as of right now: there will be twenty six apartments, two, three and four bedroom units. There will be a pub and grill open to the public, so that when you finish the 18th hole at St. Andrews, you can walk across the street and have a drink of some kind. The units will range from 1295 square feet to 2650 square feet, and no, we are not sure of the pricing yet. But our potential lease options will be of the leasehold model. Potential lease agreements will be for one year or for 99 years, paying the lease upfront There will be annual dues also, TBA. Our future website will keep people apprised of our progress.
In addition to the apartments, and pub, there will be a restaurant and function suite, open to the public. The whole thing is slated to open on Valentine's Day, 2012."