The United Bldg: North America’s largest heritage retrofit

two Raimondi LR273 luffing jib at work on The United Bldg site

The former home of the Maclean Publishing Company is being transformed into a 55-story condo development

The United Bldg isn’t a typical condo development for downtown Toronto. Rather than starting from below ground up, the 55-story condo development is preserving the 10-storey heritage facade that pays tribute to this building’s past as the former home of the Maclean Publishing Company.

Eventually becoming Maclean-Hunter, the publishing company became Canada’s largest publisher of trade journals and national publications. Its titles include Maclean’s Magazine, Chatelaine and the Financial Post

By preserving elements from the 1928 building and the 1961 expansion, the Davpart development has earned a place in the historical conservation sector, making The United Bldg North America’s largest heritage retrofit.

Usually, a heritage building would be dismantled and removed from the site allowing demolition to continue. However, for the United Bldg, Toronto Heritage Preservation insisted the façade stayed in place while excavation is completed. 

Recently, Avenue Building Corporation deployed two Raimondi LR273 luffing jib cranes for the construction of The United Bldg. 

“Avenue Building Corporation is adding another significant project milestone to our site portfolio by renting these two Raimondi LR273 luffing jib cranes to EllisDon, contractor of the project and international leader in construction services,” said Jim Patullo, President of Avenue Building Corporation. 

Raimondi cranes join construction of The United Bldg

A Raimondi LR273 luffing jib at the United Bldg site

Installed between December 2023 and January 2024, the two 18 tonne-luffers are currently onsite at a height of 60 metres and 54 metres with jib lengths of 45 metres and 50 metres respectively, and a tip load of 4.5 tonnes. 

Equipped with an 86 kW hoisting gear, the LR273s lift at a maximum speed of 204 metres per minute and have a drum capacity of 980 metres. 

“With the project preserving the 10-storey existing facade, along with its structural steel retention systems, 75 per cent of the jobsite space was already occupied. We carefully evaluated both of the crane positionings to ensure maximum site safety and efficiency,” Patullo said. 

He added the small out-of-service radius of 16 metres and 17 metres, and the ease of installation of the LR273 due to the model’s weight optimization, were key features considered during the site planning phase.

The wide swing angles of the LR273 allow for greater site coverage, coupled with the superior machine performances in terms of lifting capacity, also played a significant role in the deployment of this specific luffing model.

“Witnessing the participation of our models on such a prestigious jobsite highlights the reliability and high performance of our luffing range, reaffirming Raimondi’s commitment to delivering excellence in every product we manufacture,” said Luigi Maggioni, Raimondi Group CEO. 

“Raimondi technology not only enhances productivity, but it also ensures precision in even the most challenging environments.”  


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Scheduled to be onsite for several years with varying timelines, the cranes will be internally climbed to reach final heights of 65 metres and 195 metres.

“The versatility of the Raimondi LR273 makes it one of the bestselling cranes for jobsites of this nature in the region,” Patullo said.

Located along University Avenue, the high-rise mixed-use development will include modern residential units and commercial spaces. 

When complete, The United Bldg will include 224,245 square feet of commercial office space, 39,320 square feet of retail space and 759 residences starting on the 10th floor.