Claims by President Donald Trump that the US got a bad deal by selling its prime central London embassy and building a new one in the Nine Elms area of the capital have been challenged by an estate agency.
The president tweeted at the end of last week that he was doing a U-turn over his proposed visit to the UK to open the new embassy, scheduled for next month.
Now Christian Warman, director of prime central London agency Tedworth Property, says: “I can see why Trump might be upset as Grosvenor Square is one of the best addresses in London and it might feel a little like the Americans are selling off the family silver.”
But Warman describes the nine-storey grade II listed Grosvenor Square building and site - sold to Qatari developers to become a 137-room hotel - as “compromised, rather small and a nightmare for people living and working in the area with the various security restrictions that had to be imposed.”
The agent dismisses Trump’s assessment of the new embassy’s site as “an off location” saying the purpose-built $1.2 billion building will be in one of the capital’s most up-and-coming areas.
“The infrastructure going into Nine Elms is phenomenal. It is reasonable to assume that in 30 years' time Nine Elms could be a very popular destination in its own right so it doesn’t look like a bad deal at all” insists Warman.
“The Americans are not going against the tide as there have been lots of other big sales in Grosvenor Square, such as the Canadians selling their high commission a few years ago. All in all it seems a very sensible decision” says the agent.
Meanwhile veteran Mayfair agent Peter Wetherell - @mayfairguru on Twitter - used his social media account to directly challenge the President’s version of events regarding the embassy, which Trump claimed was an example of Barack Obama’s “bad deals”.
“The new embassy was actually financed by the selling of the old embassy and the naval attache building - both in Grosvenor Square, which was not longer fit for purpose due to security issues. Not on Obama watch” wrote Wetherell.
That’s telling you, Mr President.