Construction begins on Canada’s tallest heritage retention project

Construction begins on the former Maclean-Hunter building, Toronto, the tallest architectural heritage retention project in North America. Image via B+H Architects Instagram
Construction begins on the former Maclean-Hunter building, Toronto, the tallest architectural heritage retention project in North America.
Image via B+H Architects Instagram

Construction has begun on the United Building in Toronto. It will be North America’s tallest architectural heritage retention development.

The United 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, with commercial and retail space from the ground to the 10th floor and new residences above the historic structure.

“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,” said David Hofstedter, president of real estate firm Davpart Inc. “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 be continued.”

The United design team includes B+H Architects as prime consultant and design architects, heritage consultants ERA Architects Inc., and Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc.

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

“Our heritage work includes retaining, restoring, and enhancing two large and significant buildings,” said Graeme Stewart, principal, 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 mid-century example of modern stone office towers that contribute to the distinctive character of University Avenue.”

The United includes 2916 m2 (31,392 sf) of retail space at ground level, 16,951 m2 (182,457 sf) of commercial office space from floors two to nine, and 709 residences beginning from floors 10 to 52. The front door leads to the offices and retail and the residential condominium entrance will offer direct access to a subway station from inside the building.

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