USA

US to Spend $700M on New Embassy in Ireland, Breaks Ground on New Embassy in Saudi Arabia

FILE - A bagpiper plays in front of the Oliver St. John Gogarty bar in the Temple Bar district of Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 24, 2023. The Biden administration is planning to construct a new U.S. embassy in Ireland.

The Biden administration has notified Congress that it intends to spend nearly $700 million to buy a former Dublin hotel, demolish it and construct new buildings to turn the site into the new U.S. Embassy in Ireland. The State Department also announced that it had broken ground on a new embassy complex in Saudi Arabia as part of a revamp of its diplomatic facilities in the Gulf.

The department informed lawmakers late Monday that it plans to buy the former Jury’s Hotel in Dublin’s upscale Ballsbridge neighborhood for $171 million. Associated costs, including the design and construction of the new chancery and furnishing it, will bring the total to $688.8 million, according to a notice sent to Congress.

The 4.2 acre (1.7 hectare) property is located just a block from the existing U.S. embassy in the Irish capital, which dates to the 1960s and the State Department said “is well beyond its useful life, is too small for our operational needs, and is not functional in its layout.”

The new compound will include the embassy, a residence for Marine guards, support facilities and parking, the notice said. It did not give an estimate for when the project would be completed but estimated that there would be 189 employees at the new embassy in 2028, at least 109 of whom would require office space.

The U.S. has been planning to relocate its embassy in Dublin for more than a decade and the Ballsbridge site had been the expected site after Irish authorities approved zoning and other changes for it last year.

On Tuesday, the department announced that it had broken ground on construction of a new U.S. embassy on a 27.5-acre (11.1-hectare) site in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that it acquired in early 2020. That cost, along with the construction of a new U.S. consulate in Jeddah and planning for a new consulate in Dhahran, was more than $1 billion.