Citing Nine Elms as an "off location"
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to announce he has decided against his trip to London next month during which he was planned to open the new American Embassy building in Nine Elms.
He claims on Twitter that Barack Obama sold the current embassy in Grosvenor Square for "peanuts" and built the Nine Elms replacement for $1.2billion. The President, a former property tycoon who was quoted by Forbes magazine to be worth $3.5billion in 2017, says this is a "bad deal".
The current US embassy building in Grosvenor Square was sold to Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment - the company behind the Shard and the Chelsea Barracks redevelopment - in November 2009.
Qatari Diar, a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund The Qatar Investment Authority, plans to turn the building into a luxury hotel. The amount paid for the site has never been disclosed, but is reported to have been around £500 million. The building was listed in 2009.
The land for the new building at 33 Nine Elms Lane (above) was purchased in 2008, when President George Bush was in the White House. The then US Ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman, said at the time that the embassy must move from its current central London location because the 1950s building is too small, outdated and hard to defend from security threat.
The US embassy website states that, 'The £800 million project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.'
At the groundbreaking in 2013, US Ambassador (2013-17) Matthew Barzun said, “We are proud to be putting down roots in Nine Elms. And we’re proud to provide an anchor for more businesses and jobs, bringing thousands of new neighbours to fuel economic revitalization here.”
US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is reportedly now due to open the new embassy.
January 15, 2018