US Buys Youth Club Site for New Embassy

It’s official: the International Youth Club adjacent to Wat Phnom will be the site of the new US Embassy.

US Ambassador Kent Wied­emann and Phnom Penh Gov­ernor Chea Sophara signed the papers Wednesday, with the much-sought-after site going for more than $6 million.

Khaing Lean Khan, state property director, said when the check clears, the money will be deposited in the National Treas­ury. Wiedemann said he isn’t sure when work will start, but it will be several years before it’s finished.

“We will do right by the site,” he said. “It will be a very nice building that will cost a lot of money.”

He said he didn’t know how much would be spent on the building, but that architects and engineers would work closely with local authorities and experts from the UN Economic, Social and Cultural Organization on its design. “We want it to fit in with the cultural and historic environment,” he said.

He said the new embassy would be built with security as well as aesthetics in mind, so it will not have to be adapted after the fact like the current embassy, which is festooned with razor wire and surrounded by cement traffic barriers.

 

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