New £750m American Embassy in London

Supporting Embassy staff when they are relocated

By: Christine Hall, GMS

The splendour of the new US embassy in London have been revealed for the first time in preparation for its January 2018 opening.  

Ambassador Woody Johnson hosted tours of the 518,000 square foot building in Nine Elms - situated between Battersea and Wandsworth in Southwest London - ahead of its expected formal inauguration by President Trump during his “working visit” to London in February.  The new embassy is 12 storeys high.  The property has taken four years to complete and will replace the existing American embassy that’s currently located on Grosvenor Square in Mayfair.   800 staff will make the move south of the river and the building is expected to attract around 1,000 visitors per day. 

Growth in the Nine Elms area has been kick-started by the US embassy moving in giving birth to a new ‘diplomatic quarter’ in London.  The Dutch embassy has plans to move there, as well as the Chinese.

Security was a particular concern in the design of the new embassy.  The location next to the River Thames plus the addition of a half-moon shaped ‘moat’ on one side enhance security in a way that could never have been achieved at its current location in a predominantly residential area.

At its opening the new US London embassy will be the most expensive embassy building in the world.  Diplomats have justified the cost by noting it has been funded entirely from the sale of properties in London.  Just goes to show what an investment the London property market can do!  Diplomats say the embassy will be a “modern, secure and accessible facility that fully supports the most active and important bilateral relationship in the world.”  An embassy spokesman said the building, “Is state of the art... it will be a great home for us as we work to deepen and strengthen the Special Relationship.”

At Saunders 1865, our relocation firm have a long history of helping embassy staff and their families find exceptional rental homes in London. 

families find exceptional rental homes in LondonUnlike letting agents, as a relocation firm, we only represent renters, never landlords.  Working exclusively for renters, we negotiate the lowest rents and best terms for them in a housing market which is strange and stressful to those unfamiliar with its quirks and risks.  UK landlords and agents can be unpleasant rogues at times!  A good relocation expert handles all the issues for every staff member that is being moved.

And we provide many additional support services to help embassy staff get quickly settled into the city.  Our VIP-level relocation support services include:

Home-Finding Services: When embassy staff are moving to London, the first thing they’ll want to do is find their perfect rental home in the right location.  Saunders 1865 – The VIP Relocation Company - provides a  home-finding service for renters to help them find the perfect home in the right location. Saunders 1865 – The VIP Relocation Company provides a home-finding service to eliminate the stress of the home-finding experience and robustly represents renters' best interests. Letting agents work for landlords and have a duty to get the highest rents for landlords.  We, on the other hand, work for renters and will negotiate the lowest rent and fair terms for the tenant.

Schooling Assistance: For those staff will children, they will want to find the best schools.  Providing independent schooling assistance helps families navigate the UK’s complex education system and secure the right school places for their children.

Settling-in Assistance: Moving to an unfamiliar area (particularly somewhere as big as London) can be intimidating, which is why settling-in assistance in the early stages is so important.  We provide them with a comprehensive Local Amenities Guide that’s tailored just for them.  We also help them set up bank accounts, medical, dental and other local services.  And we help them find ways to continue the leisure and sports activities they love.  The objective is to get them happily settled into their new life in London as quickly as possible so they can focus on the work they’ve been sent here to do.

Ongoing Support: It is once a rental home has been found and they’ve moved in that renters can be faced with all sorts of issues that they need help with.  Unfortunately, UK landlords and agents can be very bad at living up to their responsibilities.  From maintenance failures, to broken promises, life for the renter’s family can become pure misery if someone isn’t on top of every single detail. Ongoing support ensures that they have immediate access to expert assistance throughout their time in London. 

Lease Renewal Assistance: Renewing a rental agreement can be a much more complex than realised. A Lease Renewal service is there to support tenants throughout the negotiation process, put forward any maintenance requests and ensure that all of the necessary renewal paperwork is taken care of saving them time and money. 

Departure Program: It’s when staff are relocating back home that problems can really start! From arranging end-of-tenancy cleaning, cancelling utilities, recovering deposits and resisting any unreasonable dilapidation claims, there will be many elements to ensure embassy staff have a smooth departure from London.  Providing departure assistance ensures the process is as stress-free as possible.

To reach out to us for a free initial consultation about your relocation support needs use this contact form