A development trend is emerging along University Avenue in Downtown Toronto, with existing buildings being adapted and surmounted by sky-scraping additions above. The first in these projects was the recent Residences of 488 University Avenue condo development, which re-skinned and reinforced a mid-20th century office tower and added 37 new floors atop, while up at College Street, a similar plan is in the works for the Hydro Place building at 700 University. Across the street from 488 University, however, is Davpart's The United BLDG, which will add a 52-storey, B+H Architects-designed tower while incorporating the heritage Maclean Publishing Company/Maclean-Hunter Building at 481 University Avenue along with adjacent existing buildings into its base. Its early stages of construction are now progressing above St Patrick subway station.

Looking northeast to The United BLDG, image via submission to City of Toronto

We last checked in on the project in September, 2020, when a ceremonial ground breaking was held to celebrate the start of construction. Interior demolition activity had already started at the time of the ceremony, and by the following month, exterior and structural demolition had begun for the first of the buildings; the tower will rise on the northeast quadrant of the block at Centre Avenue and Edward Street. Demolition continued along the rear of the site through early 2021, as shoring began along the University Avenue frontage.

Looking east to The United BLDG, image by Forum contributor Lachlan Holmes

In the months since, the remaining northeast quadrant of the site where the new tower will ascend has been fully cleared, with shoring now continuing in this area. Excavation will soon follow, set to dig down to a depth of 16.5 metres, freeing up space for four underground parking levels.

Looking southwest to The United BLDG, image by Forum contributor Lachlan Holmes

Meanwhile, boards have been placed around the ground floor of the heritage buildings, protecting masonry as preparatory work continues. The heritage integration, being overseen by specialists ERA Architects, includes a plan to transform the arches facing Dundas Street into a sheltered colonnade that widens the sidewalk while extending the heritage attributes into the public realm.

Base of The United BLDG, image by Forum contributor Lachlan Holmes

Dundas Street colonnade at The United BLDG, image via submission to City of Toronto

Davpart is targeting a late 2026 completion for the new development. 

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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