For Sale: Want Our Embassy?

In tough economic times, embassies hit the real estate market too.

By: Mary Clare Glover

Europe is in deep economic trouble. One way some countries could narrow their budget deficits? Sell off their properties in Washington. We asked local real-estate agents what the following ambassadors’ residences and embassy might bring on the open market.

Ireland

Photo courtesy of Flickr user NCinDC.

Assessed value: $5.7 million

Market value:$6 million to $12 million

In the heart of DC’s Kalorama, the Irish ambassador’s residence was built in 1924 for Frederic Delano, a Federal Reserve Board member and an uncle of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ireland bought the house—whose neighbors include the Textile Museum, the Woodrow Wilson House, and the embassies of Myanmar and Laos—in 1965.

Next: Greece

Greece

Combined assessed value: $20 million

Market value: $25 million to $30 million

The Greeks are in so much financial trouble that they may want to sell their entire compound on Embassy Row, which is made up of four stately properties along Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, near Sheridan Circle. The most prominent is the embassy, a 35-room mansion that was built in 1906.

Next: Spain

Spain

Photograph by Stephen Gosling.

Assessed value: $4.3 million

Market value: $10 million to $15 million

Spain’s ambassador lives in a 20,000-square-foot house on DC’s Foxhall Road. Designed by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo, it was built into a hill and sits behind an imposing brick wall. Across the street is another walled mansion: the former home of David Kreeger (now the Kreeger Museum), designed by Philip Johnson.

Next: Italy

Italy

Photograph by Lydia Cutter Photography.

Assessed value: $42 million

Market value: $45 million to $50 million

Called Villa Firenze, the home of Italy’s ambassador is a 57-room mansion on the edge of Rock Creek Park in DC’s Forest Hills. Once owned by copper heir M. Robert Guggenheim, it was bought by Italy in 1976. It sits on 22 acres with a rose garden and manicured lawns. Inside, there’s a three-story great hall and a dining room that can seat 34.