Timberlake building cost $1.2bn, says US president in tweet dismissing ‘off location’
US president Donald Trump has slammed the new US embassy in London as a “bad deal” after cancelling a planned trip to open the building next month.
Philadelphia-based Kieran Timberlake designed the scheme - which Trump said cost $1.2bn, even more than previously thought. It was funded by the sale of the Eero Saarinen-designed former embassy in Grosvenor Square in Mayfair.
BD revealed last month that embassy officials were confident the US president would be on hand to cut the ribbon at the new embassy in Nine Elms, into which all 800 staff are set to move over the coming days.
It was understood Trump would “most probably” be there for the opening date, or at a date around that time.
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
But in a tweet posted earlier today, Trump hit out at the Obama administration for selling the embassy in London for “peanuts” and building it in an “off location”.
“Reason I cancelled 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 the ribbon-NO!”
It has been reported the ribbon-cutting ceremony may instead be hosted by US secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Trump’s trip was not the full state visit offered by prime minister Theresa May, for which no date has so far been set.
This is the embassy’s first relocation out of Westminster since it first opened a base in the capital 150 years ago with its grade II-listed home, built in 1960, being converted into a luxury hotel by architect David Chipperfield.
The new 12-storey block is almost a year late with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – a House of Representatives spending watchdog – criticising the way scheme was being built at a hearing in December 2015.
The highly sensitive nature of the US’s diplomatic base in the UK means many of the building’s details are shrouded in secrecy.