LONDON (AP) — The most surprising aspect of the pricey new U.S. Embassy in London is what isn’t there: a perimeter fence.

There is no imposing security barrier to protect the highly visible embassy in a city that has this year been targeted repeatedly by extremists.

Instead there are some public gardens with benches on the edge of the property, then a pond to keep unauthorized people from approaching the new building south of the River Thames. Officials are quick to emphasize the pond does not encircle the entire building and is not a moat.

U.S. Ambassador Robert “Woody” Johnson said Wednesday the $1 billion (1.34 billion-pound) building that opens to the public on Jan. 16 is designed to be both welcoming and secure.

He said he hopes President Donald Trump will come to London for its official dedication, which may come weeks or longer after the embassy’s first day of business.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the president when he comes over here,” Johnson told reporters given an advance look at the new facility in the Nine Elms neighborhood. “I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.”

He said the president’s schedule is difficult and it is not clear when he will make his first visit to Britain as president. Trump has accepted an invitation for a state visit to be hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, but no date has been set. British lawmakers and others have protested hosting Trump for a number of reasons.

The ambassador touted the new embassy as a technological marvel built for the 21st century — but his remarks were at times drowned out by feedback from a faulty microphone.

The new building, which replaces the former U.S. Embassy on Grosvenor Square in the heart of London, is playing a central role in the rejuvenation of the Nine Elms neighborhood, which has seen a spurt in housing and office development.

The impressive building, with its distinctive cube shape, is the single most expensive embassy building ever built by the United States, Ambassador William Moser said, even though the U.S. diplomatic compounds in Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq did cost more.

Moser, who supervises overseas building construction for the State Department, said the money for the site and its development was generated by selling other U.S. government properties in Britain.

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