State Department Begins Work on New $178M Embassy Complex in Benin
2:46 PM, Aug 21, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
This week, the State Department announced that, in "an important symbol of our enduring friendship with Benin," construction has begun on a new $178 million embassy complex in the small West African nation, a neighbor of Togo and Nigeria. As is often the case in the construction of new U.S. diplomatic facilities, the plans include a number of "sustainable" features including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, wastewater reuse, and LED lighting. The complex will cover 8.8 acres, and will include:
The country has a population of about 10.5 million and an annual GDP of $7.5 billion. The State Department estimates that the project will contribute $32 million to the local economy; or, the equivalent a day and a half of the entire country's economic output.
The contractor in charge of the project is B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama. The contract was awarded in September 2012 and was valued at $126 million:
In response to an emailed inquiry, Christine Foushee, Director of External Affairs for the State Department's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, said that the $52 million difference covers all other costs not included in the construction contract, such as:
According to the fact sheet on the project, the furnishings will include a collection of art:
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