The U.S. State Department has sold it’s London embassy building to Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, which is headquartered in Doha, Qatar. The signing of this deal is just one step in the embassy’s plans to relocate.
The longtime headquarters at Grosvener Square in London is where the embassy currently operates, and will continue to operate until the new building is completed in 2016 or 2017. The embassy has settled on a new site in the Nine Elms area of Wandsworth, and construction of the new building is expected to begin in 2012 or 2013. The State Department will announce the winner of the design competition for the new U.S. Embassy building in early 2010.
The top of the current U.S. Embassy building boasts a large gilded aluminum eagle with a 35-foot wingspan. It is not clear whether the eagle will be considered part of the building’s listed status, meaning its design cannot be changed. If this is the case, the eagle will remain on the building’s facade, rather than being moved to the new location.