After more than three years on the drawing board, the replacement tower for Turkey’s Consulate General and Permanent Mission to the United States at 821 First Avenue is finally moving forward. First announced in 2012, the proposed project, known as the Turkevi Center, has commissioned Perkins Eastman as the architects of record. The building will house new offices for the consulate, and diplomatic residences for permanent staff and visitors above.
Architecture firm Chelsea Atelier prepared a conceptual competition design for the project that envisioned a dynamic green-glass tower that complemented the iconic United Nations Secretariat Building across First Avenue. It swooping curves and a crown of geometric filigree evoke Islamic themes and Turkish art and culture. The tower programmed the 17 lower levels for consulate offices and a restaurant, while the upper stories contain residential apartments topped my several tiers of terraces.
Cityfeet reported in 2012 that client-advocacy firm Cresa is serving as the development’s project manager, and recent documents filed by the consulate show the firm remains onboard. The project’s lack of progress is unclear and according to Turkey’s BGN News, rent paid for temporary offices at nearby 825 Third Avenue are costing the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs approximately $5 million a year.
Demolition of the site’s two structures: an 11-story office building designed by Harrison & Abramovitz formerly known as the IBM World Trade Corporation Building, and a four-story townhouse, are slated to begin this summer. In relation to the abatement and demolition of the now vacant buildings, an RFP was issued this past summer in search for hazardous materials consultants. Another RFP was issued this past June to purchase 24,132 square feet of inclusionary housing certificates to potentially increase the size of the project. A preliminary schedule reveals the consulate hopes to complete demolition by next spring and begin construction in July of next year. The development is tentatively scheduled for occupancy in late 2018.
The proposed building is directly across from Zeckedorf Development’s 50 United Nations Plaza which is now wrapping up construction. Also in the works is a 27-story mixed-use building located across 46th Street that is being developed by the United Arab Emirates.