Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Chamber president Bob Morgan met with Great Britain's Ambassador to the U.S., Sir Peter Westmacott, Thursday afternoon at the chamber offices off S. Tryon Street. During the half hour long gathering, Foxx and Morgan made the case to the Ambassador for the possible relocation of the British Embassy from Washington, D.C. to Charlotte.
"We think the Queen City is the perfect spot for the British Embassy to move," said Morgan. "The reasons why it's such a good fit here are many."
Topping their list is Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Ranked sixth busiest in the world, it offers 138 nonstop destinations across the globe including London's Gatwick Airport.
From an economic development perspective, the number of British-owned companies has flourished over the last several decades. While less than a dozen U.K. companies existed here 40 years ago, the number in Mecklenburg County now stands around 100. In fact, British Honorary Consul, Michael Teden's current office is just two floors below the chamber.
There's also a unique historical relevance to the embassy switch suggestion. The city is named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become queen consort of British King George 111 the year before the city's founding.
"Just think," said Morgan, "This could be an opportunity to reestablish small steps toward rebuilding ties that were irreplaceably damaged on May 20, 1775."
The Ambassador was in Charlotte this week as part of the National Democratic Institute, a non-partisan organization created to provide foreign dignataries an opportunity to witness democracy in action. While here, he and five other British Embassy representatives including Her Majesty's Consul General, Annabelle Malins, worked out of the chamber offices.
In addition to meeting with Morgan and Foxx, the Ambassador also met with Chuck Allen of US Airways. Allen urged the Ambassador to support the airline's request for slots from Charlotte into London's Heathrow Airport.