$1 BILLION U.S. EMBASSY IN LONDON IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN THE WORLD – TOOK 4 YEARS TO BUILD! – PHOTOS
- US Embassy relocated from the swanky neighbourhood of Mayfair to a more industrial one, Nine Elms, on the South Bank of the Thames.
- Peter Rees, the City of London’s former head of planning, told the New York Times this was akin to “moving from New York’s Upper East Side to New Jersey.”
- Ground was broken on November 13, 2013, and the building opened to the public on December 13, 2017.
- On February 23, 2010, the U.S. government announced that a team led by the firm of KieranTimberlake had won the competition to design the new embassy building and surrounding green spaces
The new American Embassy in London is the most expensive in the world and includes safety features like a small moat.
Coming at a cost of $1bn and months behind schedule, the new building will have a 100-foot moat on the riverside which is supposedly designed to withstand terrorist attacks, the Daily Mail reported.
The new US diplomatic outpost is being relocated from the swanky neighbourhood of Mayfair to a more industrial one, Nine Elms, on the South Bank of the Thames.
Peter Rees, the City of London’s former head of planning, told the New York Times this was akin to “moving from New York’s Upper East Side to New Jersey.”
The current embassy in Grosvenor Square has been the target of terrorist threats in the past and a nuisance to its wealthy neighbours, prompting one aristocrat – a countess named Anca Vidaeff – to stage a hunger strike in protest of it, according to the newspaper.
On October 8, 2008, the embassy announced a conditional agreement with the real estate developer Ballymore to purchase property for a new embassy site on the south bank of the River Thames in the Nine Elms area of the London Borough of Wandsworth. The site lies within the Vauxhall/Nine Elms/Battersea Opportunity Area as set out in the London Plan. The proposed plan would only go forward if approved by the United States Congress and by the local planning authority. The Northern line extension to Battersea will have new stations at Battersea and Nine Elms—combined with major local development.
In November 2009, the U.S. government conditionally agreed to sell the Grosvenor Square Chancery Building to Qatari real-estate investment firm Qatari Diar, which in 2007 purchased the Chelsea Barracks.The building is now one of Mayfair’s 238 listed buildings and monuments. In 2016 plans were approved for the conversion of the building into a hotel.
On February 23, 2010, the U.S. government announced that a team led by the firm of KieranTimberlake had won the competition to design the new embassy building and surrounding green spaces. The winning design resembles a crystalline cube, with a semi-circular pond on one side (called a “moat” by The Times) and surrounded by extensive public green spaces.
Ground was broken on November 13, 2013, and the building opened to the public on December 13, 2017.
3-MONTH-OLD ‘TERRORIST’ BABY INTERVIEWED AT US EMBABASSY AFTER GRANDFATHER ACCIDENTALLY CHECKED ‘YES’ ON TERROR QUESTION
For real? A three-month old British baby called to appear in US embassy for interview after grandfather accidentally checked ‘yes’ to question related to terrorism, espionage and genocide.
A three-month old British ‘terrorist’ baby was summoned to the US embassy for an interview, after his grandfather accidentally ticked the wrong box on a visa form.
Paul Kenyon was filling out his grandson’s visa waiver form before the family went to Orlando, Florida when he accidentally ticked yes for the question, “Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?”
Kenyon only realized his mistake when the baby was refused a visa.
“I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t see it was a genuine mistake and that a three-month-old baby would be no harm to anyone,” Kenyon was quoted as saying.
The baby was brought to the London embassy to meet with officials. The round trip from Cheshire to London and back took about 10 hours, longer than the flight to Florida.
“I thought about taking him along in an orange jumpsuit, but thought better of it,” said Kenyon. “They didn’t appear to have a sense of humor over it at all and couldn’t see the funny side.”
“He’s obviously never engaged in genocide, or espionage, but he has sabotaged quite a few nappies in his time, though I didn’t tell them that at the US embassy,” he said.
Harvey’s new visa didn’t arrive on time and he and his parents had to book new flights to join the rest of the family in Florida a few days later.
“If you were a terrorist, I suspect you’d not be ticking yes on the ESTA form anyway,” Kenyon pointed out.