The Edinburgh-based property developer FM Group has unveiled plans for a £682 million ($1.35 billion) golf resort venture in the Cape Verde Islands, located in the mid-Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles off the west coast of Africa. The Salamansa Sands project will include a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course – the first in the islands.
The Cape Verde Islands cover 1,557 square miles. This archipelago includes 10 islands and five islets, divided into the windward (Barlavento) and leeward (Sotavento) groups. The six main islands in the Barlavento group include Sà£o Vicente, where Jack Nicklaus and his design team will create a par-72 Signature Golf Course on the Salamansa coastline.
The investment master plan will also include hotels, spa resort, a 200-berth marina, and luxury apartments and villas. Construction will begin on the resort early 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
“Salamansa is the ideal location for a world-class golf course and resort,” said FM Group managing director Jonathon Milne. “We have been planning the development for a while and I am pleased to confirm that the master plan has been agreed and the deal signed. With the new international airport on Sà£o Vicente under construction and due for completion late 2007, our timing for the announcement of this international resort forward is perfect.
“Nicklaus Design is regarded as the world leader in golf course design and FM International is looking forward to working with Jack Nicklaus to create a world-class golf course in a stunning location.”
Currently, Nicklaus Design has 314 courses open for play in 30 countries. Of those, Jack Nicklaus has been involved in the design of 257 courses worldwide. At least 57 Nicklaus Design courses have been ranked in various national or international Top-100 lists, and up to 2006, at least 83 Nicklaus courses have hosted a combined total of more than 500 professional tournaments worldwide or significant national amateur championships.
For three years in a row, Jack Nicklaus has been named by Golf Inc. magazine as the ‘Most Powerful Person in Golf’ for his global impact on the game, primarily through his design business.
Nicklaus Design currently has courses under construction or under development in 38 different countries, and Cape Verde is among the 24 countries Nicklaus Design is currently involved for the first time.
”We are excited about the relationship with FM Group and the opportunity they have provided us on Cape Verde,” Jack Nicklaus said. “Our firm has been very fortunate over the last few years to enter new golf markets all over the world and have the opportunity to introduce and grow the game by designing a quality facility on which they can learn to play golf. We are proud of the role we play in the impact on the growth of the game, as well as the economic and tourism impact in these countries.”
The site for the Salamansa Sands development, including the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, is comprised of 560 hectares (1,384 acres) bordering the Atlantic that offers spectacular ocean views throughout. The site is also unique in that it is volcanic in nature and has numerous lava flows and formations that may eventually be utilized in the design strategy of the golf course.
The Cape Verde islands, with its dry and temperate climate, have grown in popularity among tourists and government authorities are committed to making the country a top golf and vacation destination. There were plans announced last year for the development of two 18-hole golf courses, including one on Sà£o Vicente.