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President Trump has canceled a planned visit to the United Kingdom to open the new U.S. Embassy there. He says it costs too much. He also says the new embassy is in an off location in contrast to London's prestigious Mayfair district where the old embassy was. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from the new embassy's neighborhood.
FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: John Scobie, a local realtor, is giving me a tour of Nine Elms. That's where the $1 billion U.S. Embassy will open next week. It lies along the south bank of the River Thames, upstream from Big Ben.
JONATHAN SCOBIE: The whole site here was originally designed to be based around the American Embassy. And we have beautiful, beautiful apartments right on the edge of the River Thames starting from anywhere from about 500,000 or 600,000 for a one-bed going up to multiples of millions.
LANGFITT: And there's more.
SCOBIE: You've got the Battersea Power Station development, which is arguably one of the biggest developments in the world at the minute. It's going to - estimated to cost about 8 billion. In 2020, you'll be able to see two new Tube lines opening.
LANGFITT: The old power station, a red brick colossus, sat empty for decades. It's now slated to house Apple's U.K. headquarters and luxury apartments. That's a big leap for Nine Elms, which was once famous as London's wholesale market for fruit and vegetables. Today it's dotted with cranes. Scobie's a big fan of President Trump and his blunt style, but he thinks his assessment of this area is off-base.
SCOBIE: If he gave me the opportunity, I'm sure I'd be able to sell him a couple of penthouses down here. And I'm surprised he hasn't bought his own plot of land down here 'cause all the other developers have done it.
LANGFITT: Residents in the neighborhood took Trump's tweet in stride.
SAINA BEHNEJAD: I don't think anyone here's really that offended. We just find it very amusing.
LANGFITT: Saina Behnejad is a 25-year-old magazine editor and a fan of the new embassy, a glass and steel cube that shimmers in the sunlight.
BEHNEJAD: This building's amazing. I don't know what fault you can find with it. It's just massive. I've never seen an embassy this big before (laughter). So I think he probably doesn't know anything about London at all.
LANGFITT: Not everyone, though, is sold on Nine Elms. U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union has helped drive down luxury real estate prices in London. Last year, Bloomberg reported falling values in Nine Elms drove developers to sell units at a discount. Frank Langfitt, NPR News, London.
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