The United States Embassy in Nassau broke ground to begin construction on its new $318 million building, which is expected to be completed in early 2023.
The five-acre site for the new building is located at the junction of East Street and Shirley Street.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said at peak construction, 160 Bahamians will be employed on the site.
Minnis hailed the new embassy as part of the wider redevelopment of downtown Nassau.
“The government of the United States could have chosen another location on New Providence to build this new embassy,” said Minnis.
“That the city of Nassau was chosen demonstrates that the U.S. wants to be part of the renewal of this historic city.”
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers said the occasion represented an investment in the future of the relationship between the two countries.
“This is more than a groundbreaking,” she said.
“It’s an investment in the future of our bilateral partnership and an investment in the future of downtown Nassau.
“Our new facility will provide a secure, modern and resilient platform for U.S. diplomacy in The Bahamas.”
Bowers said the new embassy will house a permanent art gallery that will feature Bahamian and American art pieces, including work from prominent Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts.
“His pieces will portray the long history of cross-pollination, cultural exchange and collaboration that have made our nations richer and more resilient both in times of prosperity and adversity, because it is precisely during challenging times that true partnerships become stronger,” Bowers said.
Additionally, Bowers noted that the design of the building was inspired by traditional Bahamian architecture and landscaping.
The building will be energy-efficient, boasting LED lighting, solar-thermal hot water, photovoltaic panels and an on-site wastewater treatment system, which will provide all the landscaping irrigation.