A week before the government shutdown began, the State Department awarded a $130 million contract to design and build a new embassy compound in the city of NouakChott in the West African nation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, which lies between Mali and the Atlantic Ocean. The contract went to Caddell Construction of Montgomery, Alabama, after having asked for bids in December 2011:
According to the bid solicitation, plans included:
New Office Building (NOB), Marine Security Guard Quarters (MSGQ), warehouse, shops, maintenance facilities, perimeter security, vehicle and pedestrian access control facilities, utility building, bathhouse/cabana and surface parking.
A report from the inspector general in March 2009 noted that a new embassy had already been slated for Mauritania as the existing facility was aging and overcrowded, but the 2008 coup in the country had delayed acquisition of land for a new compound. The report recommended that the new facility be built on the existing property to save $5 million in costs for new land. An email to the State Department inquiring if this recommendation was followed was not immediately returned.
In August of this year, THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported that work had begun on a new embassy compound in another West African nation, Benin, at an anticipated cost of $178 million.