New US Embassy targets large piece of undeveloped land in Klein Windhoek
Taking their cue from the Russians and the Chinese, the American Embassy has obtained a massive almost undeveloped property in Windhoek’s Klein Windhoek suburb where the United States Government intends to construct a brand-new embassy.
Downplaying their substantial investment, the Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy, Eric Atkins, told the Economist “The U.S. government is hoping to construct a new embassy in Windhoek that symbolizes our strong and growing relationship with Namibia.”
Referring to the new embassy timeline, Atkins continued “However, this is a lengthy process and at this point, no confirmed details on location, cost, or timeline are available.”
The property in question is one of the very few remaining German colonial erven. It is located in the area between Nelson Mandela Avenue in the east, Metje Street in the south and Dr David Kenneth Kaunda Street in the west. Its northernmost corner is just across the street from the residence of the United States Ambassador.
It was bought from the Metje & Ziegler Trust for an undisclosed amount but a well-known Windhoek property developer told the Economist the entire property is more than 70 thousand square metres and would translate to between 55 and 65 typical Klein Windhoek erven. This puts the value of the land alone at somewhere between N$80 million and N$100 million.
Details of the US Embassy’s intention to acquire the massive tract of land for a new embassy first surfaced when officers of the Namibian Police went from house to house in the neighbourhood, asking residents if any would object to the United States Government erecting a new embassy on the Metje & Ziegler land.
The huge piece of land has only one main dwelling and a small outbuilding. For the rest, it is completely undeveloped save for the impressive fence erected around the perimeter fencing in about two thirds of the whole piece of land. In its north-eastern corner, the property borders the Klein Windhoek River. This part of the property, stretching from Metje Street to Von Eckenbrecher Street, is fenced in by a conventional farm fence. This section of the land has several historic landmarks, such as a well dug over a hundred years ago and lined with stone, to serve the very first residents with water at a time when private land owners were still allowed to dig wells in Windhoek.
The house on the property was the residence of the Managing Director of the Metje & Ziegler Group, Mr Axel Behnsen and his wife, until his death some three years ago.
Alluding to the possibility that the US Government wants to house all its diplomatic functions on one large, extended campus, Atkins said “As always, the U.S. Mission is focused on helping Namibia succeed. It is envisioned that a new embassy bringing together all our agencies and offices in one facility will help us pursue our long-term bilateral goals more efficiently.”