Former U.S. Embassy Property Collapse in London Kills Worker

A building on London’s most expensive square that used to belong to the U.S. embassy partly collapsed yesterday, killing a 33 year-old man who was working on the site.

A 29 year-old worker suffered minor injuries in the accident at the Grosvenor Square site and has been discharged from a hospital, the Metropolitan Police said in an e-mailed statement today. Both men were on the building’s second floor when it collapsed, according to the statement. Work on the project has been suspended, the construction company carrying out the job said.

“We are, of course, working closely with the investigating authorities to ensure that a full inquiry is conducted into this tragic incident,” Declan Sherry, chief executive officer of construction company McGee, said in a statement.

Grosvenor Square is in Mayfair, an area popular with hedge funds and embassies and known for luxury stores and hotels such as the Connaught. An apartment on the square was offered for 5,130 pounds ($8,570) a square foot last month, a record for the district, according to brokers Wetherell and Knight Frank LLP.

The U.S. embassy no longer owns nor uses the building at 20 Grosvenor Square, known as the Old Navy Annex, and its London embassy is housed in a building opposite, Lynne Platt, a spokeswoman at the embassy, said by telephone.

New Owner

The Abu Dhabi Investment Corp. bought the Annex for 250 million pounds last year, the Guardian newspaper reported. Finchatton, a London-based developer, was appointed development coordinator for the project in May 2013, according to its website.

A spokeswoman for the Abu Dhabi Investment Corp. declined to comment.

The U.S. embassy building on Grosvenor Square was sold to a unit of Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund in 2009, and the embassy is moving to Wandsworth, south of the River Thames.