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US embassy considers move to ING building in Etterbeek
The American Embassy in Brussels is considering a move to the ING building on Cours Saint-Michel in Etterbeek, as the long-running search for a new home continues.
Brussels secretary of state for urban planning, Pascal Smet, confirmed that the US embassy had expressed an interest in the site, which ING is preparing to vacate and sell by next year.
The embassy's current location between the Royal Park and the inner ring, which it has occupied since the 1940s, is no longer considered to be suitable for security reasons.
If the move goes through, the ING building in Etterbeek would house the American embassies to Belgium, the European Union and Nato. The building's proximity to the European institutions is said to be an asset.
According to Bruzz, US officials have held an exploratory discussion with the Brussels region about the potential move to the four-hectare site, which is behind Mérode rail and metro station.
"We want to move to further expand our diplomatic relations," an embassy spokesperson told Bruzz. "We are at a very early stage and look forward to the next steps we will take with those involved."
A spokesperson for Pascal Smet's office confirmed: "The general conclusion was positive, no major obstacles were identified."
Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort has reportedly expressed his support for the project, which is said to be "on the right track".
The US government had previously shown an interest in the site of the former Axa building on Boulevard du Souverain in Watermael-Boitsfort, which it had wanted to demolish and rebuild.
However it pulled out after negotiations with the local authorities fell through. Municipal officials successfully applied for the 1970s building, known as the Royale Belge, to be listed.