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West End Extra - by TOM FOOT
Published: 4 May 2007
US embassy goes up for sale

US government puts £90m price tag on building in victory for residents

THE US government indicated its plans to leave Mayfair this week when it put its Navy Annexe in Grosvenor Square up for sale for £90 million.
Embassy officials stated they are considering moving their main headquarters as part of a wholesale security review.
Washington has undertaken a global sell-off of government buildings after bringing in strict new safety measures.
An embassy spokesman said officials were “pursuing alternatives to provide a modern, secure facility”.
He added: “We are looking at potentially viable sites that could be acquired for new construction, but that’s just one option.”
The building is considered Britain’s number one terrorist target following the World Trade Center attacks in 2001.
A campaign from residents led to the council approving plans to fortify the building with a £6m perimeter fence to protect it from bomb blasts.
But wealthy residents living in multi-million pound Georgian houses in the square say this is not enough, and that the council should be backing their calls for the embassy to move out.
Councillor Glenys Roberts said at a council meeting on Wednesday night: “If the embassy moves out I would like assurances that the site is returned to residential use.”
Cabinet councillor Robert Davies said he had spoken to the US Ambassador this week.
He said: “The problem is they have to spend a lot of money to do up the building before they can leave.”
Mr Davies added: “If the embassy moves it will be prime for residential or hotel use.”
The building, owned by the Grosvenor Estate, has been home to the US embassy since the 1960s.
The 133,300 sq ft property has 939 years left on the 999-year lease.
General Dwight Eisenhower is said to have worked there in the 1940s while planning the invasion of North Africa during World War II.

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