Qatari Diar’s plans to convert the US Embassy in London into a luxury hotel have received government approval this week, the project’s architect said.
The London Chancery for the US Embassy at 30 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, will undergo a “sensitive and adaptive re-use” to become a 137-bedroom hotel with shops, restaurants, bars and a spa.
It will be extended to span nine stories, three of which will be underground.
A glass pavilion will be built on the roof and the ground floor will be opened to the public. Also, existing security bollards and fencing around the complex will be removed, UK-based David Chipperfield Architects said in a statement yesterday.
The iconic, gilded-aluminum bald eagle will remain on top of the building, the architects confirmed.
Westminster City Council granted conditional planning permission to the proposed project on Tuesday, it added.
The 1960, Grade II listed Modernist building was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.
Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. bought it after the US decided to move its embassy to a new building in Nine Elms, Battersea, which is expected to open next year.
The company is a property arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
The Diar is also involved with several other London redevelopments. These include Chelsea Barracks, Southbank Place near Waterloo Station and East Village in Stratford, close to the venue of the 2012 Olympics.
This week’s planning approval follows at least eight months of public consultations over the design of the new facilities.
In a consultation document published online, the developers promised to keep the main architectural features and to “breathe new life into this significant building.”
They also plan to open roads between the embassy building and the adjacent Grosvenor Square Gardens. Some of these are currently closed to traffic and pedestrians due to security measures.