Posted: 3:57 am ET
The Financial Times calls it London’s first new moated building since the medieval era. After project planning and construction that spanned about a decade, the New London Embassy is set to open shortly. The new compound is reportedly buffered by an 8 ft-deep, crescent-shaped moat, and set back from surrounding roads by 100 ft per security requirements. The Guardian says its “concrete bulwarks come disguised as earthworks, and its anti-truck bollards are fig-leafed with hedges.”
The New London Embassy project was announced on October 2, 2008 by Bush appointee, Ambassador Robert Tuttle:
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.”
On February 23, 2010, Obama Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Louis B. Susman, and Acting Director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, Adam Namm, announced that KieranTimberlake of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania won the design competition for the New London Embassy.
The ground breaking for the New London Embassy did not occur until November 2013 under second term Obama Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun.
President Trump’s new political ambassador to London, Ambassador Woody Johnson said that the new embassy represented “a signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better.” The Telegraph also quoted Ambassador Johnson, who owns the New York Jets, saying that the price tag was a “bargain” compared to the $1.6B stadium built for his team in New Jersey.
President Trump has now tweeted that he will not be doing the ribbon cutting because in his words it’s a “bad deal.” For those curious about the necessity and the funding of this new compound, see US Embassy London: Don’t Worry, Be Happy — New Digs Not Funded By Appropriated Funds and our related posts below:
New Billion Dollar U.S. Embassy London to Open to the Public on January 16, 2018
New London Embassy: Design Passed the Full Mockup Blast, So Why the “Augmentation Option” For $2 Million?
Photo of the Day: New Embassy London Topping Out Ceremony
Congress to State Dept: We Want All Your Stuff on New London Embassy Except Paperclips (July 2014)
New Embassy Construction Hearing: Witnesses Not Invited, and What About the Blast-Proof Glass? (diplopundit.net)
US Embassy London: Don’t Worry, Be Happy — New Digs Not Funded By Appropriated Funds
A New Embassy for the Future. In London. For $1 Billion
US Embassy London Celebrates 10,750 Visitors to Winfield House With a Time-Lapse Video
State Department’s Embassy “Design Excellence” Initiative: Year in Review (Video)