58 SEPTEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL that the new site would end up being close to Heathrow Airport, if not even further out of town, a pattern that they had seen in the site selections for new U.S. mis- sions in other parts of the world. But moving out of central London was never a serious option. If the U.S.- U.K. “special relationship” was to continue to be taken seriously, we needed to maintain a prominent position in the cityscape of London. However, after a multiyear search, the State Department came very close to concluding that we might have to make do with a renovated Grosvenor Square site after all, even though it could never meet security standards and various critical utilities updates would be very costly. Actually finding a building site, and finding it where we did, surprised us and became an important part of the story of this project. When I first told Londoners, not to mention Americans famil- iar with London, that the newmission would be in the Nine Elms neighborhood, many had to ask where that was. Until recently a neighborhood of light warehouses and a wholesale market, Nine Elms was just a gleam in developers’ eyes in 2007, yet the site is as close to 10 Downing Street and the Foreign Office as the current embassy, and has a view of Parliament, as well. The U.S. mission is the first foreign embassy ever to be constructed on the south bank of theThames, but others are now following. Located along the river between the Battersea Power Station and the Vauxhall headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, the new site was ripe for development but lacked an anchor. Much to the delight of borough officials, the embassy project became that anchor, resulting in a tremendous amount of new residential and office space in what is essentially central London. It was gratifying to make this contribution to a neighborhood of London that actually needed development. Despite the histori- cal and emotional connections to Grosvenor Square, it will also be satisfying to say goodbye to some of our complaining neigh- bors in stuffy Mayfair. Perhaps they will be more content with the After a multiyear search, the State Department came very close to concluding that we might have to make do with a renovated Grosvenor Square site after all. WIKIMEDIACOMMONS/CURRAN2/CCBY-SA4.0 The new U.S. Embassy London as seen from the Thames River.