Government buys £12m New York apartment for UK diplomat negotiating trade deals

The Government has bought a penthouse apartment in New York for 15.9 million US dollars (£12 million) for use by a British diplomat working to secure trade deals for the UK.

The Foreign Office says the apartment in the 50 United Nations Plaza tower will be the official residence of Antony Phillipson, the British consul general in New York and trade commissioner for North America.

Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the 44-storey tower block is situated close to the UN headquarters in Manhattan and the iconic Chrysler Building, and is described as the “ultimate global address”.

The penthouse purchased by the Government occupies the 38th floor and boasts seven bedrooms and six bathrooms across nearly 6,000 square feet of space.

There is also a library, separate living and dining areas, and panoramic views across the Manhattan skyline.

According to New York City records, the property was bought by “Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs” on March 15.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We have secured the best possible deal and value for money on a property that will help promote the UK in the commercial capital of our largest export market and trading partner for years to come.

“As well as being the Consul General’s Residence, it will also be used to support his work to help British businesses as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America.

“We are in the process of selling the Consul General’s current residence.”

Lord Norman Foster
The building was designed by British architect Norman Foster (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It is understood the space will be maximised for event use, and that no staff will be living at the property.

On the website of architects Foster and Partners, 50 United Nations Plaza is described as a “luxury residential tower occupying a prestigious location”.

“Every apartment is focused on the series of floor to ceiling bay windows and the interiors are luxurious, with generous space for entertaining,” the firm says.

“Adding a touch of elegance to every detail, the powder room walls are fitted with glazed silk panels in a choice of either bold primary or natural colours. A spa in the basement incorporates a large exercise pool for residents.”

A spokesman for developers Zeckendorf Development and Global Holdings said: “We are delighted with this full-floor penthouse sale to Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and thrilled that 50 United Nations Plaza is now over 83% sold.”

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