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Davpart unveils plans to transform historic Toronto landmark

Monday, April 8, 2019

Davpart Inc. unveils plans to transform former Maclean-Hunter Building at 481 University Avenue to a 55-storey, mixed-use tower called the UNITED BUILDING. The development will be North America’s tallest architectural heritage retention project.

Located on the northeast corner of University Avenue and Dundas Street West, this location was home to Maclean Publishing and later, Maclean-Hunter, one of Canada’s most prestigious publishing companies and home to flagship Maclean’s Magazine, Chatelaine and the Financial Post newspaper.

“This is one of the busiest intersections in the city and a really significant piece of Toronto,” B+H Architects Principal Mark Berest said in an interview.

The United Building, which is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, will house 224,245 square feet of commercial office space and 39,320 square feet of retail space from the ground floor to the 10th floor in the restored structure. The residential space will include studio to one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom designs, some with a den, flex or media room; some will have two storey plans. Suites sizes start at 300 to 1,400 sq. ft.

The design team includes B+H Architects as the prime consultant, ERA Architects Inc. (heritage consultant) and Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc.

“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 continue,” said Davpart’s president and CEO David Hofstedter in the press release.

“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.”

“There are challenges with this kind of redevelopment, it’s not just preservation of the facade. We’re excavating four stories for parking,” Berest added.

Construction on the UNITED BUILDING is expected to start Spring 2020.

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