Oce®nico Group, the leading luxury property developer and golf operator in Portugal, has acquired the Little River Golf & Resort in the Pinehurst golf area of North Carolina in a US$500million agreement that marks the Group’s first step into the US market.
The acquisition of Little River Golf & Resort was completed at the end of December 2007, and will see Oce®nico Group take over the golf, property and holiday operations of the 630-acre resort.
The agreement follows Oce®nico’s €125 million purchase of five golf courses in Vilamoura, Portugal in March 2007, including the renowned Victoria course, host to the Portugal Masters (2007 – 2009).
The move also comes closely on the heels of the launch of Vilamoura Golf & Garden Resort and Royal à“bidos Spa & Golf Resort, two luxury developments of apartments, villas and facilities including shops, pools, spas, restaurants and premier golf courses.
Opened in 1996 in Carthage, North Carolina, Little River Golf & Resort includes an 18-hole golf course – the only Dan Maples designed golf course in the Pinehurst area. Ranked in North Carolina’s top 100 golf courses, it also features a 20,000ftÂ² luxury club house, which overlooks the resort’s renowned landscaping, including lakes and forests.
Currently included in the resort are 64 two-bedroom apartments, with Oce®nico planning to expand this further with a number of residential and holiday properties, together with an on-going investment in enhancing the golf facilities.
Commenting on the acquisition, Simon Burgess, director of Oce®nico Group, said, “With the fast growing Raleigh-Durham and Research Triangle regions close by, and easy access from the whole of the US East Coast, this resort is perfectly positioned to become one of the best in the Carolinas.
“North Carolina is already one of the five most popular states for golf travellers and nearby Pinehurst is widely regarded as the finest in the US. North Carolina is to US golf what Portugal is to the sport in Europe and we look forward to replicating our European success in the American market.”
Gerry Fagan, director of Oce®nico Group, added, “This acquisition represents yet another bold step for Oce®nico and fits perfectly into our strategy to create not just golf courses and accommodation, but world-class resorts for golfers and non-golfers alike. We are delighted to now have the opportunity to build Little River into a resort that matches the unparalleled standards of our Portuguese developments such as the five-star Amendoeira Golf Resort, Vilamoura Golf & Garden Resort and Royal à“bidos Spa & Golf Resort.”
Further details on future plans for the Little River Golf & Resort will be announced later in 2008.