After receiving zoning bylaw approval from Toronto City Council in 2014, a plan to redevelop the Maclean-Hunter Publishing Company complex at the northeast corner of University and Dundas went quiet. Now four years later, Davpart's plan for a tower rising to 55-storeys 481 University Avenue has resurfaced with an application seeking Site Plan Approval as the company prepares to market condominium suites in the development under the name 'The United BLDG'.

481 University, B+H Architects, TorontoPrevious and current iterations of the design, images via submission to City of Toronto

The updated plan includes tweaks to the massing and a completely new look for the B+H Architects-designed project. Below the new tower, the four existing buildings on the block wall be partially retained to act as the podium, restoring heritage aspects, updating some areas, and demolishing the remainder to make way for reworked servicing and supports for the new tower. Changes sought from the 2014 zoning bylaw include a reduction in the number of parking spaces from 378 spaces to 202.

481 University, B+H Architects, TorontoLooking southeast to 481 University, image via submission to City of Toronto

The newly revised plan consists of a 9-storey base building containing 20,833  of office space and 3,643  of street-fronting retail—including a retail arcade along the Dundas Street West frontage, a 6-storey upper podium element housing a mix of residential units and amenity spaces, and a 40-storey tower that contains the bulk of the building's residential units. The Dundas arcade would be created by removing the most southerly bay of floor space on the ground and second levels, and widening the sidewalk into the area behind the the remaining piers.

481 University, B+H Architects, TorontoGalleria at 481 University, image via submission to City of Toronto

The 2014 proposal of 748 residential units has been increased to 763 in the new plan. Overall average unit is 54 . The suites are proposed in a mix of 96 studios with average area of 28.8 , 344 one-bedrooms with average areas of 48.3 , 251 two-bedrooms with average areas of 61.9 , and 72 three-bedrooms with average areas of 90 .

481 University, B+H Architects, TorontoPodium, 481 University, image via submission to City of Toronto

The new plan for the exterior incorporates proportion and materiality reminiscent of the International Style of modernist buildings from the mid 1900s. The upper podium and tower volumes feature a mix of window wall and curtainwall cladding systems, with a grid of bronze coloured metal framing that accents the expanses of glazing. Balcony guard rails will feature steel pickets with a bronze finish to match the tower accents, while an illuminated lantern atop the tower will complete the of warm hued theming.

481 University, B+H Architects, TorontoLooking northeast to 481 University, image via submission to City of Toronto

An application to the Committee of Adjustment for a Minor Variance is being made to gain approval for the various changes from the 2014-approved site-specific zoning bylaw. Alongside that, the first submission for Site Plan Approval has been made.

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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