(Trump Bali hotel) Land acquisition more tricky

Business | 28 Apr 2017 5:12 pm

Plans to expand the land available to the resort, in part to accommodate a larger golf course, are struggling.  (Pictured, farmland near the site which will be developed into a six-star resort managed by Trump Organization, in Beraban, Bali, Indonesia).

Villagers said Donald Trump's Indonesian business partner Hary Tanoesoedibjo's conglomerate MNC has had an offer on the table since 2015 to buy adjacent land, which is mostly used for growing rice and other crops. Wayan Surata, a former resort worker who helped MNC compile a list of landowners several years ago, said about 80 percent of the owners have rejected it. 

Ketut Sukarjaya, who works at the old resort and is close to retirement, said land belonging to him and his brother has been in their family for several generations and they had no financial need to sell it. 

Surata said he was one of the few who has agreed to sell. Pointing to a verdant stretch of land bordering the resort, he said he sold with a "heavy heart'' because he urgently needed money for a garment business he had started. 

MNC's offer of 150 million rupiah (US$11,290) per a Balinese measure of land that is equal to about 100 square meters is far below what villagers believe is fair given the prime location, Surata said. Most think it's worth three to seven times that. 

Selling is also a fraught issue because the island's farmland is gradually being depleted, increasing a lopsided reliance on tourism. In Beraban, about 40 percent of arable land already is being used for housing and tourism. 

"We are optimistic it will be more difficult to buy land because the people are now more aware that land cannot be created,'' said Made Sumawa, the village's stern-faced guardian of custom and tradition. "The investors wanted to expand the area but after they learned of the people's character here, they realized it's difficult to buy the land from them.''-AP

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