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(Left to Right): Michael Thompson, Toronto Deputy Mayor, David Hofstedter, Davpart President/CEO, Barbara Lawlor, Baker Real Estate President

Photo: Arthur Mola

A global pandemic didn’t stop Davpart from making progress on The United Bldg. Condos, a historic redevelopment project at 481 University Avenue. Last week, Davpart President and CEO, David Hofstedter was joined by Toronto’s Deputy Mayor, Michael Thompson and Baker Real Estate President, Barbara Lawlor on site to celebrate the start of construction. The outdoor event featured the trio knocking down an eight-foot faux wall with sledge hammers to mark the beginning of demolition.

Situated on the northeast corner of University Avenue and Dundas Street, the development will incorporate and preserve the heritage facade of the former Maclean Publishing Company/Maclean-Hunter building. A classic example of 20th century interwar-era architecture, the building is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and listed on the City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties. During the 20th century, Maclean-Hunter grew to become the largest Canadian publisher of trade journals and the home of Maclean’s magazine, Chatelaine and the Financial Post newspaper.

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Photo: Evan Eisentadt

“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 David Hofstedter, Davpart Inc. President and CEO. “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.”

Blending the past with the future is a new mixed-use office and condo tower designed by B+H Architects that will rise 52 storeys including the heritage facade, making it North America’s tallest architectural heritage retention project. The interiors are by Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc., while ERA Architects Inc. will lead the heritage revitalization.

“Our heritage work includes retaining, restoring and enhancing two large and significant buildings,” said Graeme Stewart, Principal at ERA Architects. “The first is a noteworthy 1930s collegiate gothic building by Toronto architect Murry Brown, designed with New York’s Schultze & Weaver. The second, designed by Marani & Morris architects, is a midcentury example of modern stone office towers that contribute to the distinctive character of University Avenue.”

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When complete in late 2026, the base of the building will house 31,392 square feet of retail space at ground level, 182,457 square feet of commercial offices on floors two to nine, and a total of 709 new residences on floors 10 to 52. The main entrance at 481 University Avenue leads to the offices and retailers, while the residential entrance will be located at 88 Centre Avenue. The complex will also feature direct access to the TTC’s St. Patrick Station from inside the building.

The modern addition is separated from the heritage podium through rooftop terraces and boasts a modern aesthetic that will blend into the Toronto skyline with sleek window walls and integrated balconies.

“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,” said Mark Berest, Principal at B+H Architects Principal. “It is a tribute to Toronto’s cosmopolitan character and considers a new convergence of live, work and play.”

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Inside, the collection of residential suites offers spacious, open-concept layouts with contemporary finishes and sweeping views. Available layouts range from 300 to 1,400 square feet and consist of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and two-storey units. Many designs feature a den, flex room or media room for added functionality.

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The most recent release of homes features an exquisite collection of penthouses and skytowns that sit atop the residential tower. Beautifully proportioned, these extravagant residences are designed with grandeur down to the smallest detail, providing comfort and luxury to even the most discerning of purchasers.

“The design team at Tomas Pearce has spent many hours creating these magnificent spaces,” said Hofstedter. “This collection offers a grand destination for those who would like to live in a work of art on Toronto’s only ceremonial boulevard.”

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Grand eight-foot entry doors lead into bright living spaces appointed with fine features and finishes like porcelain and prefinished engineered wood plank flooring. Meanwhile, kitchens are equipped with a custom-designed cabinetry package and professional-grade Sub-Zero Wolf appliances.

“The penthouse level stands out from the rest of the building,” said Melandro Quilatan, President and Co-founder of Tomas Pearce Interior Design. “Even though that’s luxurious, the penthouse floor takes it up to a different level.”

The skytowns are equally impressive with spacious layouts featuring nine-foot ceilings, two balconies, expansive windows, and a chef-inspired kitchen with a Miele appliance package.

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Residents of The United Bldg. Condos will have access to a comprehensive range of onsite amenities, starting with a luxurious lobby with 24/7 concierge, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, a party room with a kitchenette, and a sports lounge with billiards and a golf simulator. The indoor pool comes complete with a fireplace area and a deck with sun loungers.

More amenities are located outdoors, including a four-season reflection pool with warming pavilions, a bocce court, yoga deck, zen garden and barbecues. Plus, pet owners will appreciate the onsite dog run and pet spa.

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With a sought-after location in downtown Toronto, residents will also have convenient access to an abundance of shops, cafes, restaurants and nightlife. Nearby attractions include Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto City Hall, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Grange Park, Chinatown, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, Eaton Centre and the Financial District.

To learn more about The United Bldg. Condos, visit theunitedbldg.com to register.

For more information, contact Baker Real Estate at 416 849 7700 to make an appointment.

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