|Design sketch of a new U.S. Embassy Beirut|
While the saga of the on-and-off new consulate construction project in Jeddah plays out, I should point out that the U.S. government recently issued a solicitation for the design and construction of a new U.S. Embassy in Beirut. That's always a good thing.
What's not such a good thing is that the solicitation was dated March 28, 2013, which is just three weeks short of thirty years since the Beirut embassy bombing. That incident led to the Inman Commission and to the business of building Fortress Embassies which has gone on ever since. Now, thirty long years later, we might be close to finally building a Fortress in Beirut.
From the solicitation:
This will be a design-bid-build project. The resultant contract shall be fixed price. The estimated construction cost is $526.231 million.
The new Embassy compound will be constructed on U.S. Government-owned property located in Aoukar, approximately 11 km north of Beirut city neat the site of the existing U.S. Embassy compound. The complex of buildings will be in the range of 78,636 gross square meters in area and will include a new Chancery, General Services Office/support buildings, parking structure, TDY lodging facility, Marine Security Guard Quarters (MSGQ), Chief of Missions Residence (CMR), Deputy Chief of Missions Residence (DCMR), Staff Housing, Compound Access Control (CAC) facilities, RSO Annex, Utility Building, Community Center, and vehicular/pedestrian screening facilities. The project site is approximately 17.8 hectare (43 acres) located on a steep hillside in a neighborhood of residential and light commercial uses. The land slopes east to west with a topographic change of approximately 100 meters. This project will be designed and constructed to achieve, as a goal, a LEED Silver rating.
By the way, the sketch I inserted above is not connected to the present solicitation. It is from the very first attempt to build a new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, back in 1957. That project was suspended during the Lebanese Civil War of 1958. History keeps repeating, huh?