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US embassy in Brussels to move to Etterbeek site: Report

The American ambassador to Belgium is set to decamp to set up shop in the Brussels neighbourhood of Etterbeek, according to local media.

U.S. authorities have picked the former offices of ING bank for their new location, broadcaster LN24 reports.

Currently, the embassy is located in the heart of the city, near the Arts-Loi metro station. But attempts to beef up security have run up against legal problems after complaints from residents, prompting the search for a new address.

The embassy in 2016 mooted the idea of a re-location to the suburb of Watermael-Boitsfort, but the idea was eventually shot down.

The new site promises to be a huge project, with the new seat bringing the embassy together with the U.S. representation to the EU and NATO.

LN24 reports that Etterbeek Mayor Vincent De Wolf welcomes the move: “I am delighted that the Americans have chosen our beautiful town to settle in.”

The project will see significant redevelopment of the location, with the office building currently standing on the land set to be demolished. Part of the plot will be set aside for the construction of residential housing.

De Wolf said that buy-in from local residents is needed for the plan to succeed, given the disruption that NATO and international summits will cause to the area. The project still awaits permitting, but the mayor says he views the arrival of the embassy “with a positive spirit.”

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