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In an angry tweet early Friday, President Trump railed against the George W. Bush-era deal that saw the US give up its London embassy and buy a brand-new, more secure property in a grittier neighborhood.
He explained that he so disapproved of the new embassy site that he was canceling his planned London trip next month — though others suggested the real reason was the expected massive protests against him.
“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,” Trump wrote. “Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”
President Obama had in fact nothing to do with the original decision, but his successor was right about one thing, though: The old US embassy, in posh Mayfair, is indeed an architectural beauty — and members of the public will be able to judge its merits themselves, once it’s been turned into a luxury hotel.
The new property on Grosvenor Square will be the newest development by the Qatari Diar real-estate company, best known as the owner of London’s iconic Shard skyscraper. It was founded in 2005 by Qatar’s state-owned holding company, and won the rights to develop the property in 2016.
The new property‘s opening date isn’t publicly known yet, but the 137-room hotel and spa will be housed within a structure by famed architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the swooping-bird TWA Flight Center at New York-JFK, Dulles Airport (IAD) and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The new architect for the project, David Chipperfield, will retain the landmark stone facades and aluminum eagle on top and add ground-level shops in addition to the hotel.
It was announced in September 2016 that the hotel would be operated by Texas-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which has Rosewood properties across the world and the Carlyle Hotel in New York. Rosewood was added to the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts lineup in 2016.
The new embassy, a glass cube designed by Philadelphia architecture firm Kieran Timberlake and commissioned during the Obama administration, sits on the River Thames in a former industrial area, is 12 stories tall and includes state-of-the-art security measures.
Featured image: A model of US President Donald Trump from the Madame Tussaud’s waxwork attraction stands outside the new US embassy on Jan. 12, 2018 in London. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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