Google has acquired a plot of land in Essex, UK, previously used as a racetrack and earmarked for residential developments.

First reported by the Thurrock Hammers racing group, London Strategic Land Partners Limited (LSL) has sold a parcel of land in Thurrock to the search giant via a local shell company.

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– Google Maps

The 129 acres, located on Arterial Road in Purfleet, was sold to Global Infrastructure UK Limited for £47 million ($57.3m) in a deal completed in July 2023.

As noted by the Hammers sites and CoStar, Global Infrastructure UK is a listed entity of Google.

On the company’s own site, LSL says the land was sold to an unnamed “hyperscaler” in 2023.

LSL said it had acquired the 127-acre site in 2017 from two private landlords. Formerly used as a raceway track and before that a landfill, the company submitted a planning application for 2,500 homes in 2018 which included a lido, community center, primary school, health center, and walking and bike trails. The application has since been withdrawn.

LSL’s ‘commercial masterplan’ suggests up to eight industrial and office buildings of various sizes.

The land was previously used as the Arena Essex Raceway; a stock car and speedway racing track that opened in 1978 and closed in 2018.

Founded in 2017, LSL is focused on developing greenfield and brownfield land in and around London and South East England for the housing sector.

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LSL's commercial master plan for the site – LSL Partners

While east London’s Docklands is a notable hub, most data center developments on the outskirts of London are focused to the west around Slough, Hayes, and increasingly, Iver. However, a 600MW campus in nearby Havering has been proposed by developers, though it faces strong opposition.

Thurrock Hammers is a group dedicated to bringing a raceway track back to the area, ideally on the existing site that has just been sold.

Thurrock Hammers director, Mark Sexton, said: “The change of ownership of Arena Essex signifies a new start and we have already contacted a representative of the new owner of the site with the aim of preserving Speedway by using current planning regulations and policies.