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CHICAGO-US investment management firm Guggenheim Partners is collaborating with Royal Bank of Scotland to fund Jack Nicklaus-branded golf and residential resorts. Furthering the venture, Guggenheim and RBS have also joined efforts with Nicklaus Investments, owned by renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus and his family, to form Guggenheim Nicklaus Partners LLC (GNP).

GNP is expected to facilitate about $60 million to $120 million of funding for every Nicklaus residential golf resort project over the next 12 months. According to Andrew Rosenfield, managing partner with Guggenheim, the company is planning to roll out between 10 and 15 projects in the first year.

“We’d like to do 10 to 15, then figure out the pace from there,” Rosenfield says. “The market would probably support 10 to 15 per year, but we don’t have any pre-existing formula.” The group will hold a majority stake in the resorts but will offer a minority ownership role to home developers and builders.

Rosenfield says this was a great opportunity for investment as the demographics attracted to this type of real estate continue to expand. With aging baby boomers looking to settle into a leisurely lifestyle, the golf resort neighborhood is a good solution, he says. “They might not even be interested in golfing, but they might have children who golf,” Rosenfield says. “And when they want to sell, this is sensible real estate. The demographics and demand are true.”

Rosenfield says the company is looking expand nationally as well as internationally in countries like Spain, Western Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. In the US, he says that although Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona come to mind, “it doesn’t have to be just in hot weather communities.”

GNP’s primary function will be to finance and invest in the luxury residential real estate and golf resort communities around the world, featuring Nicklaus Design courses as the centerpiece of each development. Nicklaus Designs refers to itself as the world’s leading golf course design firm, with more than 50 courses under construction, and 280 courses currently open for play in 28 countries around the world.

With experience in finance and real estate development, Guggenheim brings to the team more than $100 billion of assets under its supervision. RBS, the world’s sixth largest bank and second largest in Europe, will serve as the primary source of debt capital for GNP. Jack Nicklaus has been a spokesperson for RBS for three years, and is currently making his final appearance at the British Open. Gary Nicklaus, Jack’s son and co-chairman of GNP, could not be reached for comment.

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