Trump Might Just Have a Point on London Embassy Sale TimingBy
U.S. President Donald Trump may have a point when he says the country sold its embassy in London for “peanuts.”
The sale of the historic building in London’s Mayfair neighborhood took place at the bottom of the last property bust, data compiled by broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. for Bloomberg News shows. Values for the best offices in the West End district, which includes Mayfair, have doubled since then. The decision to relocate the diplomatic outpost to Nine Elms was made in 2008, before Barack Obama was elected president.
The embassy had a number of problems. It was listed for historical preservation in 2009 to protect its modernist concrete facade, meaning any renovation would be a challenge. The site is also less secure than the new facility in the Vauxhall Nine Elms district, which is surrounded by its own moat.
The long lease on the Grosvenor Square property was sold to the state of Qatar, which is planning to convert the building into a luxury hotel, for an undisclosed price. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will operate the 137-room hotel on the site, which will include a ballroom for 1,000 guests, the developer said in September.
The new U.S embassy on the south bank of the River Thames had been scheduled to open during Obama’s term, but delays pushed back its formal opening until this year. The former industrial area is being redeveloped to include thousands of new luxury apartments, offices and stores. Apple Inc. has agreed to lease a building in the district for its London staff.