SIR ROBERT McAlpine is negotiating a £20 million deal to build an exclusive hideaway for jet-set golfers at one of the world's oldest sporting venues.
The firm is in discussions with American property group Wasserman over a deal to build timeshares at the spiritual home of golf, St Andrews.
The facility in eastern Scotland has six golf courses, including the famous Old Course, a practice centre and two clubhouses. McAlpine is being lined up to convert a student hall of residence overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course into a block of 23 private residences called St Andrews Grand.
A source close to the deal said: 'Sir Robert McAlpine is pricing up these exclusive flats. The students had been getting a cushy life and not appreciating it, but they've been chucked out.
'Nobody else was ever in the frame for it but probably would have liked to have been. I expect it will mainly be American and Japanese hackers who snap them up, but maybe McAlpine can wangle a day pass.' The St Andrews Grand will become home to one of the most exclusive clubs in the world with its 115 private invitation-only memberships. Built in 1895, the building was originally a hotel called the Grand Hotel.
It was bought by the University of St Andrews in 1949 and converted to its current uses as a student dormitory.
The developer says it will be returned to its original grandeur and exclusivity.
Redevelopment is scheduled to begin in July and be completed by spring 2008.
The apartments will have gourmet kitchens, luxury bathrooms and guest quarters. In addition to the residences, the St Andrews Grand will have a club room with a library and grand piano, a private dining room, and a pub.
Members will also get personal services including a full-time concierge, daily housekeeping, a spa and health centre, a grocery service and golf valets.
Upfront membership will cost between £750,000 and £1.9 million.