Bicester Motion appoints Clearwater International to secure £20m equity raise


Clearwater International has been appointed as adviser to Bicester Motion to lead on a £20m (€24m) equity raise to fund the latest stage of development on its substantial commercial estate in Bicester, Oxfordshire.

Established in 2013, Bicester Motion is a 444-acre branded commercial and leisure estate strategically located at the heart of the UK’s mobility and tourism industries. The former RAF base has established itself as a focal point for automotive and aviation mobility technology and already has significant income-generating assets from the development undertaken to date.

The project will see Britain’s ‘motorsport valley’ turbocharged with plans to develop the Second World War Bomber Station into a Centre of Excellence for mobility technology, past, present and future. The landmark development is home to a ‘collection of quarters’ which connect through innovation, community, and experience. The first component of the development, The Heritage Quarter, completed its principal restoration and development in June 2020 and comprises lettable space of c.346,500 sq. ft. across 57 buildings and is considered to be the UK’s home of historic motoring enterprise.

The multi award-winning Heritage Quarter (home to the Bicester Heritage brand) contains 45 curated specialist businesses, positioned within an array of beautifully restored historic WW2 RAF buildings and a recently completed run of modern structures (77,000 sq. ft.) designed to complement the existing units. With a strong focus on apprenticeship training, skills and knowledge transfer, the Heritage Quarter has positively disrupted and provided a central hub for the classic car sector, a significant British industry which now amounts to a total value of £18.8bn p.a. to the UK’s economy.

Current tenants include the Morgan Motor Company, auction house Bonhams MPH and the motorsport governing body Motorsport UK.

The latest round of equity raising will support the expansion of this development to c.1million sq. ft. of commercial and leisure accommodation. The strategy is to attract more companies to become the UK’s principal mobility cluster, where businesses can grow in a collegiate environment, develop their technology, hone their skills and utilise shared on-site facilities, such as test circuits. It is hoped the site will also become a major tourist destination, increasing tenfold the current 100,000 visitors a year, allowing visitors an experiential immersion in the latest motion technology, culture and leading brands.

The investor population is expected to span institutional and real estate investors as well as high net worth individuals.

Dan Geoghegan, Chief Executive, Bicester Motion said: “Bicester Motion has already created the UK’s only cluster for the £18.8bn classic car industry, comprising 45 specialist businesses across 50 buildings on a fraction of the estate.  We plan to add a modern business and leisure campus for all forms of mobility, from automotive to aviation, with a focus on technology and experiential retail that will see 1 million sq/ft here with an operating airfield and leisure tracks at the core.”