Skip to comments.Plans for $1bn US embassy in London include 30m moat to foil bombers
Posted on 02/23/2010 2:27:25 PM PST by Former Military Chick
THE UNITED States has unveiled plans for its new $1 billion high-security embassy in London - the most expensive it has ever built.
The proposals were met with relief from both the present embassy's Mayfair neighbours and the residents and developers of the Battersea wasteland where the vast crystalline cube, surrounded by a moat, will be built.
The decision to abandon the former site in Grosvenor Square by 2016 came after a prolonged battle with residents angered by the security measures demanded after the September 11 attacks. More than a hundred residents took out a full-page advertisement in The Times to oppose tighter measures that they said would leave the area more vulnerable to attack.
The new embassy, on a former industrial site behind Battersea power station known for its gay clubs, will be designed by Kieran Timberlake, the Philadelphia architects.
A moat 30m (100ft) wide and rolling parkland will separate the building from the main road, protecting it from would-be bombers and removing the need for the blast barriers that so dismayed the people of Mayfair.
The State Department sought to play down the cost of security measures, noting the expense of London building work. But the price puts the London embassy above the US's most fortified missions, including the Baghdad embassy, which cost $600 million but required a further $100 million of work on airconditioning, and the Islamabad embassy, still under construction, which has cost more than $850 million.
It also does not include the 17.5per cent VAT demanded by the Treasury on all buildings in Britain and which the US has refused to pay.
Louis Susman, the US Ambassador, said: "We intend to do what's appropriate and we are working with the Treasury on that."
He acknowleged past difficulties, pledging to be "a good neighbour in our new home" and said that the eco-friendly building would generate enough power to contribute to the national grid.
The new location will take the embassy out of the Central London congestion zone. US diplomats owe an estimated £32 million in congestion charges and fines, which they refuse to pay on the ground that they are exempt from taxes in Britain.
The unpaid dues led Ken Livingstone as mayor to call Robert Tuttle, the ambassador at the time, a "chiselling little crook".
This discontent was almost equalled when the embassy learnt in November that its Grosvenor Square premises were to be given a Grade II listing. Despite the development limits imposed by the decision, the embassy was still sold for more than $1 billion to a Qatari company that plans to turn it into a luxury hotel.
The embassy said that a statue of Ronald Reagan soon to be put up in Grosvenor Square will not be part of the Battersea site. "It will absolutely not be moved," an official said. "Nor will the Eisenhower."
At least they don't pay the 17% VAT.
Interesting night life to be sure.
Glad they wont move the 2 statues.
Will they have to install minarets? It is Londonistan, after all.
In this day and age, I see the necessity for embassies to be moot. They just domicile a wealthy donor to the POTUS so they can act like a figurehead in a foreign land.
More than a hundred residents took out a full-page advertisement in The Times to oppose tighter measures that they said would leave the area more vulnerable to attack.
WOW a reverse American Revolution...
Muzzies will bomb it in the first year ;-)
How much is it going to cost us to employ the Frenchman dressed in medieval duds to “fart in our general direction”?
I would have gladly done the work on the air conditioning for only $90 million. Or even 80.
Your comment is important, thank you. It seem’s the brit’s do NOT see it that way.
It seem’s the new location will be a far out of the way place.
Odd that our media hasn’t covered this story.
I want trebuchets on the roof of that thing.
I demand a drawbridge!
I read in another news article that the Eagle and exterior facade will stay intact. The building was given “historic” status by London.
Dang, we are back to castles and moats again.
Oh goodness, I have a chest cold, and when I read your reply I couldn’t help but cough and cough as I laughed and laughed. Thank you. :)
I hope you feel better soon.
actually quite a lot of American jobs. Lots of guys and gals with security clearances will head overseas to build it. So if you are a plumber, electrician or carpenter and looking ofr a little adventure, this could be it.
PS it will be at least 2 years before construction starts.
thank you friend, I was quick to jump the gun, but I was wondering how the Obama administration was going to fit in.
We have not heard this reported anywhere, or I haven’t.
But, I didn’t consider the full range of what this will do, so thank you.
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