US ambassador Elisabeth Richard and Minister Cesar Abi Khalil lay foundation stone for the new US embassy in Aukar, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (The Daily Star/Ahmad Azakir)
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In a ceremony Thursday, U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard and Lebanese Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil broke ground on a new embassy compound in the northern Beirut suburb of Awkar.The estimated $1.2 billion, 43-acre site is situated just uphill from the current embassy compound, and is set to open by 2023 .Arne Emerson, a partner at Morphosis Architects – the firm designing the compound itself – described the planned embassy's architectural style as well as its scale.The final plan includes a wide main street, exterior courtyards and community plazas, to create a pedestrian-friendly environment for those living and working at the embassy.In addition to its aesthetic redesign, Richard said the new compound serves a necessary function for the ongoing U.S. presence in Lebanon.
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