For at least the length of its existence in its most recent form, the Republic of Serbia’s diplomatic mission to the United States has leased space from Ethiopia, in a relatively modest mansion at 2134 Kalorama Road NW. In late May, however, Serbia formally “bought” the former embassy of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a long-empty building at 2221 R Street NW.* (Montenegro, after splitting off from Serbia in 2006, took up residence two years later at 1610 New Hampshire Avenue two years later).
It’s one of the last of a set of properties once owned by Yugoslavia to find its way back into productive use, which is always an issue with buildings owned by unstable or insolvent nations. A Serbian spokeswoman said she expects they’ll move into their new digs sometime next year. The Ethiopians, headquartered in an ambassadorial enclave on International Drive NW, haven’t yet responded to questions about what they’ll do with the Kalorama Road building once their tenants decamp.
* UPDATE, Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. – To clarify, the Serbians “bought” the building in name only. It had already become Serbian property according to the Yugoslavian succession agreement, and a confirmatory deed was signed on May 17th to formalize the transition, with no money exchanged. Also, renovations haven’t yet begun in earnest, and a spokeswoman says they’re not sure when—-or if—-the move will actually take place. D.C.’s Board of Zoning Adjustment will hear Serbia’s application to allow the location of a chancery use at the old embassy building in September.