Delancey, the London-based fund manager run by Jamie Ritblat, son of British property magnate Sir John Ritblat, has acquired a two-acre site targeted for development of a 120 bedroom hotel. The purchase price was not disclosed.
The land is located on the Brooklands motor racing circuit in Weybridge, Surrey, a site known as the birthplace of British aviation and motorsport because it was the first custom-built banked motor race circuit in the world when it was built in 1907. It was also the second ever oval style race track built for cars. The site became one of Britain's first airfields when it hosted the first flight of an English aircraft by an English pilot in 1908. The site is no longer used as an airfield or racing circuit, but part of it has been turned into an entertainment center by DaimlerChrysler.
Mercedes Benz World
The property was purchased from DaimlerChrysler Retail and is located next to Mercedes-Benz World, opened in 2006 to offer the public driving experiences on four purpose-built race courses. The site is expected to be a major tourist draw and is unique in that children as young as eight or nine can drive on part of the original Brooklands circuit. The center, which is the largest brand experience center of its kind in Europe, also has interactive exhibits. The hotel development will be done in partnership with DaimlerChrysler.
Site preparation and construction works are scheduled to begin during Spring 2008, with the hotel opening for business in 2010, according to Delancey.
In July Delancey raised a €1.5 billion ($2 billion) UK- and Europe-focused fund targeting direct investments, developments, public-to-private transactions and equities. The fund is an evergreen investment vehicle, meaning that investors provide long-term, unrestricted capital. Previous examples of investments made by the firm include the creation of luxury hotel and resorts owners Hilwood Resorts & Hotels, the acquisition of UK developer Allied London and the establishment of property outsourcing company Mapeley.