Brands Hatch to be sold

Brands Hatch, which hosted the British Grand Prix on a regular basis in the 1960s and 1970s, has been put up for sale by Octagon Motorsport. The sale is being handled by Jones Lang LaSalle, which has been instructed to sell not only the Kentish circuit but also Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park. The sale amounts to 1050 acres of freehold land with the possibility of development although the aim is to sell the circuits as a going concern.

Brands Hatch's future has been doubt since Octagon failed to get planning permission to develop the circuit, which it acquired for $180m in 1999. The 400-acre site near Swanley in Kent is located close to the major access roads into London and is prime development land if planning permission could be obtained. Octagon then signed a deal to lease Silverstone from the British Racing Drivers Club to safeguard the British GP until the year 2017.

Brands Hatch's planning application has been opposed by the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust because the work needed will destroy nearly 40 acres of ancient woodland.

The danger is that Brands Hatch will become the target for developers and the sale is expected to bring in around $100m for Octagon. At least one of the bids is expected to come from a major motor racing club but it is unlikely that such organizations will be able to compete with big developers.

"This investment opportunity is already generating a wide range of enquiries," says Julie Green, European Director of Jones Lang LaSalle's Corporate Finance team. "There are many high net worth individuals and companies associated with motor racing who will find this offer extremely attractive. We have received over 70 enquiries in the pre-marketing period and we are expecting significant additional interest now that we have formally commenced the marketing process."

The bidding is expected to begin at the end of this month with a decision by September.

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