Filed under: By Design
Religious pilgrims were the first to come to St. Andrews in the 10th century, to view to relics of St. Andrew himself, St. Peter's brother. In more recent times, golfing pilgrims have consistently flocked to St. Andrews to pay homage and play on a stretch of weather-beaten land on the edge of the North Sea, where the game was invented over 600 years ago. When contemporary pilgrims set off down the first fairway of the Old Course into the prevailing wind, and it is always prevailing, they walk headlong into history. There is no place like it. It is no wonder then, that over the years many hotel developers have seen the most lucrative of possibilities here, not knowing that the town of St. Andrews also plays a huge part in the history and formidability of any project's success.
St. Andrews is a small Scottish town, that stresses the Scottish traits of humility, distrust of pretense and artifice, and frugality. The hallowed St. Andrews course is an unadorned links course that lies on public ground, where golf is forbidden on Sundays so families can picnic, or just walk on the fairways. Community is crucial, and as it is in any small town, outsiders ususally have to prove themselves.
Imagine, then, in 2006 ,what the local people thought and felt when they discovered the fate of one of their historic landmarks -- Hamilton Hall, a building on the 18th hole of the St. Andrews course. This building was, for over 60 years a University of St. Andrews dormitory, and prior to that a Royal Scottish Army living quarters, and prior to that, the iconic Grand Hotel, opened in 1895. It was discovered that Wasserman Real Estate Capital, based in Providence, R.I., had purchased the building, and was planning on major renovations, so they could sell fractionalized residences for between $1.3 and $3.3Million per fraction, in a project called the St. Andrews Grand.