Former Grand Haven resident designed new US Embassy in London
The single most expensive embassy building ever built by the United States has officially opened its doors. The US embassy in London began welcoming visitors just a few weeks ago and that's thanks to a former West Michigan man who helped design it.
After nearly 10 years of work, former Grand Haven resident James Timberlake opened the doors of the new US Embassy in London. Timberlake's architecture firm beat out dozens of others to land the gig back in 2010.
Nearly four years after breaking ground, the building opened for visitors this month.
"It's a wonder of 21st century workplace, integrated security, and wonderful urbanism of London," Timberlake told WZZM 13 in a Skype interview.
The billion dollar building didn't come without controversy.
President Trump tweeted this out earlier this month after being invited to the ribbon cutting:
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Although Trump mentioned that the Obama administration was responsible for the new embassy, it was actually the Bush administration that decided to build the new embassy in 2006.
Though Timberlake, who is now based in Philadelphia, didn't mention the President's comments he did respond to the mixed reactions.
"In this public realm you take the good with all the other comments as well."
But Timberlake won't let the reviews get in the way of making his mark on big cities as he continues to put his major architecture firm on the map.
"Back in the day when I was 8 years old, Grand Rapids was the very big city," Timberlake said with a smile. "All of these things have perspective but I still have fond memories of being in Grand Rapids as well."
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.