Waterside Plaza was built on landfill brought to the U.S. as ships’ ballast from the rubble of the city of Bristol in the U.K., which was bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War II. The apartment buildings, as well as the neighboring United Nations International School, were constructed on top of platforms supported by over 2,000 concrete piles sunk into the East River. Developed by Richard Ravitch, the first apartment buildings opened in 1973 and the complex was completed the following year. The housing development received the Construction Achievement Project of the Year Award from the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1974. There were plans to build additional above-water apartments, offices, and a hotel in the 1980s, but environmental concerns and community opposition doomed the project.
In 2004, Waterside Management Company LLC launched a three-year capital improvement program with a cost in excess of $35,000,000. The capital improvement program included upgrades to all new apartments as they became vacant as well as all hallways and each building’s reception and concierge areas. The plaza itself was re-waterproofed and repaved and extensive park-like landscaping added. The health club, parking facilities, and security system were also upgraded.