“When they first started building here, no one believed in it,” said Gilad Azaria, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate who has lived for 12 years on Riverside Boulevard, the neighborhood’s main drag, and who frequently sells in the area.
Waterline Square, which broke ground in 2015 and will open to residents in 2018, “will make the area more of a neighborhood,” said Mr. Azaria, who isn’t involved with the project.
Stylistically, the $2.3 billion project is a departure from the past. Its towers are angular and glassy, unlike the boxier brick-and-stone versions in the area whose names through the decades have included Lincoln West and Riverside South.
A partnership that included Mr. Trump developed most of those earlier buildings, and even though that group is no longer the landlord, Mr. Trump’s name still appears on facades there.
At Waterline, three major firms designed the exteriors of the towers, Richard Meier and Partners Architects, Rafael Viñoly Architects and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; each firm was responsible for a different address. But a detailed master plan imposed by the city in 2010 largely determined the buildings’ crystalline shapes, according to GID.
Still, GID officials seem grateful that their product will stand out on a somewhat homogeneous strip. “We wanted to break the mold of what came before,” said James Linsley, the president of GID, which also owns the nearby Aldyn, a rental and condo complex, and the Ashley, a rental tower.
Mr. Viñoly went even further, describing the first buildings in the area as “the blandest thing in the world.” But, with the final piece falling into place, he said, “it’s certainly going to be more interesting.”
Each Waterline tower stacks condos atop rentals. One Waterline Square, a 37-story tower, offers 56 condos atop 216 rentals, while Two Waterline Square, a 38-story building, has 160 condos and 486 rentals. And Three Waterline Square has 34 stories, with 47 condos above 167 rentals. In each building, the condo and rental sections have separate entrances.
Twenty percent of the project, or 226 units, has been set aside as affordable housing. Condo buyers, meanwhile, will pay reduced taxes for 20 years because Waterline Square qualified for a 421a abatement.
Condo interiors will feature counters made of veined marble and Gaggenau appliances. The rental units will have “different finishes but a similar level of quality,” Mr. Linsley said.
Inside will be about 118,000 square feet of amenities, with about 90,000 square feet spread out in a three-level below-grade space called the Waterline Club that will have a swimming pool, a two-lane bowling alley, a recording studio, a full-size basketball court and a tennis court. Renters will pay a fee for access. Lounges, catering kitchens and libraries will be scattered throughout the towers, too.
Outside, threaded among the apartment buildings, will be a 2.6-acre public park. In addition, each tower will have retail spaces that restaurants are expected to lease, according to GID.
The surroundings are getting a makeover, too. Ultimately, Riverside Boulevard will be extended to West 59th Street, opening flow in a walled-off corner. A city project to extend Riverside Park southward is also underway.
Sales at Waterline Square, where one-bedrooms start at around $2 million and prices average about $2,900 a square foot, began earlier this month through Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. Leasing, which will be handled by GID, won’t start till 2018.
In contrast, the average price of new apartments in Lincoln Square, the name of the broader area, is about $2,400 a square foot, according to StreetEasy.com.