2 October, 2008
U.S. Takes First Steps Toward Embassy Relocation
Meeting the challenge of providing a modern, open and secure American diplomatic facility in London, the U.S. State Department today signed a conditional agreement with the real estate developer Ballymore to acquire a site in the Nine Elms Opportunity Area in Wandsworth for the construction of a new Embassy.
“This has been a long and careful process,” said Ambassador Robert Tuttle, who has led the search for a new site. “We looked at all our options, including renovation of our current building on Grosvenor Square. In the end, we realized that the goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable Embassy could best be met by constructing a new facility. I’m excited about America playing a role in the regeneration of the South Bank of London.”
A design competition will ensure the new facility reflects the best of modern design, incorporates the latest in energy-efficient building techniques, and celebrates the values of freedom and democracy.
This is an initial agreement conditioned on the approval of the United States Congress and local planning authorities. The existing Embassy building will be offered for sale almost immediately. However, it is still possible that the Embassy will remain at the current location if for whatever reason the site acquisition and acceptable planning consent do not materialize. The global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield is advising the Overseas Buildings Operations Bureau (OBO), which directs the State Department’s worldwide facilities program, on this project.
Sean Mulryan, Chairman of the Ballymore Group, said of the decision, “We are delighted the United States Embassy has chosen to invest in our Nine Elms project. The new Embassy will serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.”