New $1B US embassy in London a high-security fortress, with a moat

It is a high-tech high-security fortress in London.

At $1 billion, the new U.S. embassy in the UK is the most expensive ever. The walls are blast-resistant. The glass is shatter-proof. It is diplomacy in the age of terror.

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At $1 billion, the new U.S. embassy in the UK is diplomacy in the age of terror.  (Greg Palkot/Fox News)

“The world has changed and so this building meets all those challenges,” Woody Johnson, U.S. Ambassador to the UK, told Fox News.

One important security feature, and an appropriate one for an embassy in the land of castles: A 100-foot-wide “moat,” at least one that protects one side of the building. Staffers like to call it a “pond.”

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It was the exposed nature of the old U.S. embassy that helped push this move. Five often deadly terror strikes in the UK this year underscored it.  (Greg Palkot/Fox News)

It was the exposed nature of the old U.S. embassy that helped push this move. Five often deadly terror strikes in the UK this year underscored it.

“An urban environment like we’ve seen in London with attacks,” embassy architect James Timberlake told Fox News, “are unknown and can happen any time.”

A general view of the main lobby entrance with a large Department of State embossed seal, along with all the names of the ambassadors to the Court of St James's at the new United States embassy building during a press preview near the River Thames in London, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The new embassy which is being funded by the sale of existing property in London is expected to cost around 1 billion US dollars. The Court of St James's is the official term for ambassadors to the United Kingdom. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

The new embassy, just south of the Thames River, is more remote than the last one.  (REUTERS)

The new embassy, just south of the Thames River, is more remote.

But it’s not without risk. Suspicious vehicles near the site triggered controlled detonations earlier this year.

A general view of the exterior of the new United States embassy building during a press preview near the River Thames in London, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The new embassy which is being funded by the sale of existing property in London is expected to cost around 1 billion US dollars. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

About 1,000 embassy staffers will be housed in a safe and open environment.  (Reuters)

“You have to take the rough with the smooth,” said Ravi Govindia, leader of London borough of Wandsworth. “Of course, there will be concerns and disruptions.”

1,000 embassy staffers will be housed in a safe and open environment. The sale of the old embassy and another property paid for the new one.     

The new embassy opens to the public January 16. According to Ambassador Johnson, the embassy will be dedicated by President Trump during a visit scheduled for early next year. 

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.