On January 11, 2018 Donald trump tweeted:
“Reason I canceled 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!”
The US embassy has recently moved from Grosvenor Square, Mayfair to Nine Elms near Battersea, south London.
Woody Johnson, America’s ambassador to the United Kingdom who was appointed by Trump on August 29, 2017, responded to Trump’s tweet with:
“I agree with President Trump that Grosvenor Square, in the heart of London, was a perfect location for our embassy.”
“Security concerns after September 11 meant we had to move to a location that could better protect American citizens and our British neighbours.”
“It is the most secure, hi-tech and environmentally friendly embassy that the United States has ever built.”
“Purchased and built from the sale of our London properties, the new embassy did not cost the US taxpayer a cent. Yet is one of the most advanced embassies we have ever built.”
The decision to move the embassy was actually taken by the administration of George W Bush, not Barack Obama’s, back in 2007. Trump had been expected to do an event marking the opening of the new embassy in a visit pencilled in for February 26 and 27 2018.
On Friday night, the 12th January 2018, a spokesman for the US embassy sent a statement by official email, the email stated:
The U.S. chancery in Grosvenor Square had aged beyond its ability to be improved to current security and life safety standards without extensive investment in infrastructure that would require appropriated dollars. In 2007, the Department developed a plan to finance a new embassy project through a property swap for existing US government property in London. This solution allowed construction of a new chancery that meets all security standards, yet used no taxpayer dollars to fund the project.
The project budget was approximately $1 billion and includes the site purchase, design and construction costs. The project has been executed within the established budget. The search for a new Embassy site in London considered more than 50 sites. A multi-disciplinary team of professionals considered over 170 criteria, to include physical security requirements, and determined that the Nine Elms site was the best overall location for the U.S. government.
The new U.S. Embassy will be open for business on Tuesday, January 16.