Occupying the former site of a Con Edison plant, the East River Master Plan Project will develop a four-parcel site stretching along the FDR Drive from East 41st Street, just south of the United Nations, to East 38th Street. The master plan will provide approximately 4.75 million square feet of new space, with an estimated 2,500 new residences, along with prime retail space along First Avenue.
The heart of the project is three residential towers designed by Meier Partners on the main parcel, complemented by a mixed-use commercial tower designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill. 685 First Avenue on the west side is the first building completed by Meier Partners in 2019. Throughout, the design emphasizes visual and spatial interconnections between the new buildings and the existing urban fabric across the FDR drive through a series of public parks and promenades.
The key to activating this long-vacant site is a generous allotment of green space, all of which is entirely open and accessible to the public. The centerpiece of the design is a magnificent public park with plantings, seating areas, and other amenities. A boulevard arrangement of trees is envisioned along First Avenue, as are pedestrian walkways from First Avenue to the East River on both 39th and 40th Streets. These walkways, along with carefully planned park vistas, will connect the entire neighborhood to a promenade overlooking the water’s edge.