Shielded by an 8-foot deep moat in the shape of a crescent, guarded by armed men, the new US embassy in London looks a little bit like Fort Knox.
But architects say that the building will look more welcoming and open as it nears completion. There aren’t any perimeter fences; rather, the building is watched by disguised security measures, like posts camouflaged in plants.
Woody Johnson, the US Ambassador, says the new embassy will be “a signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better.”
He further said that President Trump “’I want you to make it stronger’, and I intend to do that if I can.”
At 518,000 sq. ft., it’s twice as large as the present US embassy in Grosvenor Square. The present embassy, which was built almost 70 years ago, couldn’t accommodate the growing staff, which has since quadrupled.
This embassy is considered the most expensive embassy ever built, costing almost $1bn (£750m). It has been funded by the US by solely selling its London properties. Ambassador Johnson, who owns the New York Jets, said that the expenses were a “bargain” in contrast to his $1.6bn stadium he had built for his football team.
The new embassy sits by Thames River, and is said to have wonderful views of London to as far as the Houses of Parliament. When finished, 25,000 luxury homes will be established, with the renovated Battersea Power Station at one end and Vauxhall at the other.
The US chose the site because it was one of the scarce places in central London that could accommodate all the security measures necessary, and it can stand 100 feet away from all buildings in the vicinity.
One recent development by EcoWorld Ballymore is Embassy Gardens, that features a swimming pool suspended between two towers. It allows residents therein to relax and swim while enjoying the view over the embassy.
Despite the danger that the recent glut of flats will bring the price down, prices are improving as the embassy nears its opening. It’s also been said that the Netherlands and China might be moving their embassies there as well.