Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

US magnate buys historic St Andrews building

Hamilton Hall (pic from Kohler Co)
The university sold the building but plans to construct flats fell through

One of St Andrews' most recognisable buildings has been bought by the US magnate Herb Kohler.

Hamilton Hall, which overlooks the 18th green of the Old Course, has been lying empty for years and will now be restored by Kohler's company.

The building, which sits next to the Royal and Ancient golf club, originally opened as the Grand Hotel in 1895.

Kohler's firm, which also owns the Old Course Hotel, will renovate it after a consultation with locals.

Hamilton Hall has taken on many different roles in the past century, including being requisitioned by the Army in WWII before being turned into a halls of residence for St Andrews University.

Founder Thomas Hamilton is said to have commissioned the building immediately after his application for membership had been rejected by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

'Great distinction'

In an attempt to draw attention away from the club, he constructed the much larger and more extravagant building adjacent to it.

It was sold by the university four years ago but plans to turn it into luxury flats came to nothing.

The new owner, whose company produces kitchen and bath products as well as engines and power systems, said: "Our priority is to complete the preservation of Hamilton Hall and return it to a viable and prominent position in St Andrews for generations to come.

"Our company has long demonstrated the passion and ability it takes to restore historic buildings back to great distinction."

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