Now housed in the new, 35-story glass tower, the consulate was erected at the cost of nearly $300 million, a sum that drew criticism in Turkey in 2021, when students protested the high cost of housing. It is reportedly Turkey’s most expensive foreign mission. Its curving facade was inspired by the crescent on the Turkish flag, while its tulip-shaped top is a nod to the country’s national flower, according to the architecture firm that designed it. The building includes not only consular offices, but apartments, a prayer room, an exhibition space and an auditorium, according to its architects.
City records reveal problems for months before Mr. Erdogan’s visit in 2021 as Turkish government contractors sought to gain city approval to complete and occupy the building. On July 26, 2021, the Fire Department rejected the fire protection plan submitted by a consultant for the Turkish government, asking for changes. Around the same time, the Buildings Department issued a violation after a glass panel on the 17th floor fell off and plummeted 10 stories.
Only 10 days before Mr. Erdogan was to preside over the opening of the new building, a senior Fire Department official informed Sparc Fire Protection Engineering, a consultant on the building project, that the department would not object to a temporary certificate of occupancy that would allow the building to be used if the consultant affirmed that the alarm system complied with the city building code, the records show.
But a week later, on Sept. 17, the consultant reported numerous “deficiencies” involving smoke detectors, elevators, fans, doors and other issues. Sparc’s president told the city that the building would be staffed with guards on “fire watch” until the problems were resolved. The building is still operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy, records show.
In a ceremony three days later, on Monday, Sept. 20, Mr. Erdogan presented the new consulate to the public and the press, calling it “a masterpiece” that would be a haven for American Muslims.
In May of this year, after a man used a metal bar to shatter several of the consulate’s windows and threaten its security guards — an act the Turkish president called terrorism — Mr. Adams showed up in person to inspect the damage.