PROPERTY tycoon Donald Trump is to convert a historic house on the Balmenie estate into his family home in Scotland.
Menie House, which sits at the heart of the 200-acre area in Aberdeenshire, was bought by Mr Trump in 2006, as part of his controversial plans to build a 1 billion golf resort in the North-east.
The move was announced in a statement released by Mr Trump's company last night. "Menie House, which will become the Trump family residence in Scotland, is being decorated and refurbished to the highest possible standard, whilst retaining a strong traditional Scottish style, reflective of the age of the property.
"Mr Trump is working closely with the design team, ensuring that the property reflects the level of excellence demonstrated throughout his real-estate portfolio.
"Menie Park Lodge, which currently houses the site offices for Trump International Golf Links Scotland, is also being upgraded and will eventually be used to house executive suites for the development."
Menie House belonged to the Forbes family and dates back to the 18th century. It was built on the site of an ancient castle and the cellar is reputed to be haunted by a Green Lady ghost.
The team of companies that will carry out the work on the wider Menie development was also revealed yesterday.
Once completed, the resort will include two championship golf courses, a five-star, 450- bedroom hotel with associated facilities, a state-of-the-art golf academy, 950 holiday homes, 500 private family residences and 36 luxury golf villas.
The announcements follow strenuous denials yesterday by the businessman's company that they were scaling back the development in the face of the economic downturn and a series of legal and financial dismissals.
George Sorial, the manager of the Menie project, reiterated Mr Trump's commitment, stating that any rumours of cutbacks were "just not true".
Mr Trump said of the latest announcements: "It is extremely exciting that the project has become a reality.
"We are working through the planning process and as soon as we receive our detailed planning approval, the golf course construction can begin."
The development has been dogged by controversy following claims that it will damage environmentally valuable dunes.
Though initially rejected by Aberdeenshire Council's planning committee, it was "called-in" by the Scottish Government, which gave it the go-ahead.