US Embassy in shock sale to Qatari Diar
The US State Department has sold its Eero Saarinen-designed Grosvenor Square embassy to Qatari Diar
The move comes as a shock, as London-based developer Chelsfield had been widely tipped to purchase the building, which was last week Grade II listed by architecture minister Margaret Hodge and is located in one of the capital’s most prestigious squares.
With the signing of this contract the United States takes another step towards relocating to a new state-of-the-art embassy in the Nine Elms area of Wandsworth in South London.
In early 2010, the State Department will announce a winner of the design competition for the new US Embassy in London.
Actual groundbreaking will depend on many factors, but it is hoped that construction will begin in 2012 or 2013 with the project completed by 2016 or 2017.
Qatari Diar, the Lusail-based developer, is involved with the contentious Chelsea Barracks scheme in west London.
In a statement issued today Qatari Diar said it is working together with their development advisers Chelsfield on the project.
Ghanim bin Saad al-Saad, Qatari Diars’s CEO, said: ‘Qatari Diar is looking forward to creating the world class mixed-use development that such a landmark site deserves.
‘The purchase of such a prestigious London property underscores the continuing importance of the UK market for Qatari Diar. We will continue to build our long-term relationships and investments in the UK in a way that is in keeping with local culture and values.’
The developer added that it currently has invested more than £3 billion in the UK, and that it is willing to increase this figure to £5 billion or more as part of its long-term commitment to the country.