By Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 14, 2009
It's official: Donald Trump has purchased the Lowes Island Club, making the Washington region part of his luxury golf empire.
"This place, when it's finished, will be the finest club anywhere in the country," he told The Washington Post last night. "There will be nothing like it. I already own the best ones, so I know."
The private country club has been on the market since last summer, for a reported asking price of $18 million, by owner Chevy Chase Bank.
Trump, his son Eric and business advisers took a tour of the property last week, which sparked rumors that he was seriously interested in the purchase. An e-mail announcing the sale went out to members yesterday afternoon, and Trump confirmed the deal soon afterward. He declined to discuss the purchase price other than to say, "I paid a lot."
The flamboyant developer already owns seven award-winning courses -- in New York, Florida and California -- and has big plans for his new 800-acre property, which sits along the Potomac River in Sterling. First up: a name change to -- what else? -- "Trump National Golf Club, Washington D.C.," he said.
He's bringing in golf architect Tom Fazio to remake the two 18-hole championship courses, with plans to maximize the site's natural beauty. The clubhouse, pool and facilities will be renovated, he said. Trump said he expects it will take two years "to make it great," and he wasted no time getting started: He's already ordered 150 top-of-the-line golf carts.
He said he expects the club to be a destination for hosted parties and other high-profile events, much like his jewel in Palm Beach, Fla.: Mar-a-Lago.
As soon as word leaked that Trump was interested in Lowes, golf nuts in the Washington area started buzzing that he'll make a serious run at bringing all the big-name tournaments to his greens -- especially Tiger Woods, who holds a tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. "Congressional doesn't have a chance," Trump said yesterday.
The enthusiastic golfer -- Trump reportedly has a 7 handicap -- also expects some high-power golf partners. "I look forward to teeing up with President Obama," he said. "He's a great-looking basketball player. I saw his golf swing, and it's got tremendous potential."