Ground broken on project inhabiting former Maclean-Hunter building

Davpart Inc. announced the construction on The United Building on the northeast corner of University Avenue and Dundas Street West in Toronto with a symbolic “wall-breaking” ceremony.

The building will evolve to a 52-storey high-rise which will highlight the restored heritage structure of the storied Maclean Publishing Company/Maclean-Hunter Building at 481 University Avenue, with commercial and retail space from the ground floor to the 10th floor and new residences above the structure.

(l-r) Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Davpart President/CEO David Hofstedter and Baker Real Estate President Barbara Lawlor wield sledge hammers to knock down an 8’ faux wall. Photo Credit: Arthur Mola

“From 1910 to the 1980s, 481 was the location of Maclean Publishing and later Maclean-Hunter with several buildings added to become one of the most recognized structures on University Avenue,” said Davpart Inc. President and CEO David Hofstedter.

“The existing structure is an example of a commercial building from the interwar era and is the result of many bold design influences, from Beaux-Arts to Modern Classical. While restoring the exterior, we will complete the interior to the highest standard of contemporary office and retail available today, so their current uses can continued,” said Hofstedter.

The design team includes B+H Architects as prime consultant and design architects; heritage consultants ERA Architects Inc. and Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc. Baker Real Estate manages sales activities.

“The United is a realization of our vision,” said Hofstedter. “It’s a massive undertaking which started within the context of preserving and restoring the existing building. The complexities are enormous and it has taken lots of teamwork and patience to make it happen.”

The United includes 31,392 sq. ft. of retail space at ground level; 182,457 sq. ft. of commercial office space from floors 2-9 and 709 residences which begin from floors 10-52. The front door to 481 University leads to the offices and retail; the residential condominium entrance will be at 88 Centre Avenue, offering direct access to the TTC’s St. Patrick Station from inside the building.

The United will additionally include studio to one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom designs, some with a den, flex or media room; some have two storey plans. Suites sizes start at 300 sq. ft. to 1,400 sq. ft.

“The design of this building draws from the energy of its location at the intersection of the city’s primary cultural, institutional and retail anchors as well as its preserved architectural cultural heritage. It is a tribute to Toronto’s cosmopolitan character and considers a new convergence of live, work, and play,” said Mark Berest, B+H Architects Principal.

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