By Author: Vicky Li
World embassies in London are found in some of the most prestigious buildings and some of the world’s most expensive streets in Mayfair and Kensington. Take the American Embassy for example, before it’s new relocation to the Nine Elms area it was situated in Grosvenor Square, Westminster and the largest embassy located in Western Europe. Constructed in the late 1950s consisting of nine storeys, the embassy has become an identifiable landmark due to its wingspan of over 11 metres situated on the roof. The Grade II listed building designed by Finnish American modernist architect Eero Saarinen will now be available for redevelopment into residential property.
The American Embassy located in Grosvenor Square ready to move to Nine Elms leaving the property for future residential development
The Canadian Embassy was recently sold in 2013 to India’s Lodha Group for £306 million which was located on 1 Grosvenor Square in Mayfair which aims to provide high-end residential. The new address for the Canadian Embassy will be in Canada House in Trafalgar Square.
The Canadian Embassy sold for £306 million in Grosvenor Square
Both the American and Canadian embassies has indeed influenced a trend among other embassies and has seen many embassies being sold through the recent years. The Dutch embassy near the Albert Hall in Kensington will follow America to the Nine Elms area, the Brazilian Embassy located on Green Street in Mayfair has been sold as well as the Montserrat Consulate situated in Marylebone’s Portland Place.
The trend to sell embassies continue, following a survey by Wetherell and Diplomatic magazine stated that at least of London’s 165 diplomatic missions has either been sold or has the possibility of selling and at least five were for sale of the sixteen situated in Kensington Park Gardens.
So what are the reasons for selling?
These embassies are mostly in historic listed properties, which not only need high security systems but also efficient office space. Advanced technology has made these listed properties harder to upgrade and therefore, world embassies are looking further afield for relocation and selling up their current ones.
With relocations to Nine Elms district which lies in the Vauxhall/Nine Elms/Battersea site, south of the River Thames is due to provide a new business and residential area in London constructing 3,400 apartments and 3.5 million square foot of office space. The site dominated by the Battersea Power station, a major Royal Mail sorting office and the New Covent Garden Market will count world embassies in their scheme. Furthermore, this new area will also spark new extension underground links from the Northern Line at Kennington travelling west to the Nine Elms and Battersea.
Artists’ impression of The Nine Elms development which will count the Netherlands Embassy and the American Embassy as part of the scheme (e-architect.co.uk)
As embassies move out of these grand historic buildings, fine residential are to take their place. As overseas investment into the UK property market continues, to find attractive central London properties, these might just be the future gems of investment. With a historic story converted to high end residential, it’s a unique selling point and one that will attract the eyes of many.
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