Toronto's new United Building - more than just a restoration

Child of Holocaust survivors celebrates a tremendous success in the business arena, while fighting hatred and racism at the same time

The new building (photo credit: Courtesy)
The new building
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It is not every day that Forbes Magazine has a write-up celebrating the business accomplishment of an Orthodox Jew. On the other hand, it is not every day that a company celebrates the inauguration of the largest restoration project in North America. For quite some time now, buildings that have long been home to vital American interests, primarily in the field of journalism, have seen themselves growing increasingly obsolete, with the Fourth Estate no longer able to justify the huge structures and proud iconic addresses which had once been so obvious a necessity. 
 
From the Philly Evening Bulletin building to Detroit’s Free Press building to San Francisco’s Chronicle Building, companies have been slimmed down and their original headquarters given new life while undergoing renovation in neighborhood projects. 
David Hofstedter"s speech
This fascinating development did not go unnoticed by real estate trendsetter David Hofstedter. Hofstedter – long active on the real estate scene as CEO of Toronto real estate investment and property management firm Davpart Inc, identified the same opportunity for redevelopment just waited to happen at the Maclean Publishing Company building in Toronto. 

Though the outer walls of the original edifice will remain firmly in place, the building will receive a brand new name – "The United Building" – and the addition of another 52 floors – turning into an architectural jewel on the Toronto skyline. 

And while this is an incredible accomplishment for numerous reasons, CEO of Davpart Inc. David Hofstedter – a man constantly focused on the future – instead chose to dwell on the past when he addressed those in attendance at the opening of the event kicking off the largest retention and restoration project ever done in North America.     

Some seventy five years ago my parents and in-laws came to this country as survivors of the Holocaust of Europe," he said. "They arrived here orphaned from their families and communities, scarred, broken and penniless. 

But they had the good fortune that Canada and Toronto took them in. They were given freedom to rebuild their lives, establish families and businesses, and practice and rebuild their religion and religious institutions. This is what this project symbolizes."

 David Hofstedter stood at the podium, moved by memories of the past and dreams of the future. An openly religious Jew, he cannot help but feel incredible gratitude to Canada for its tolerance and the opportunities it was willing to graciously share with his parents and in-laws. And unlike many, David Hofstedter has no qualms in showing his gratitude and paying his respects. 

(Interesting fact about David Hofstedter. In addition to standing at the helm of a hugely successful real estate company, he also stands at the helm of a major religious organization, which he bankrolls all by himself, paying students to study Torah and testing them on the material for accountability purposes. He is most definitely not your average CEO.) 

Back to "The United Building" event in question. After giving his speech and laying out his vision for the project and what it means to him for a variety of reasons, Hofstedter makes another statement showing why this project will never be just another real estate deal.
The new United Building (Photo: Courtesy)The new United Building (Photo: Courtesy)

"I visualize some of the profits from this landmark project being designated to start an organization whose role it will be to combat racism and anti-Semitism in its many shapes and forms. Specifically today, when hatred towards others has risen with such intensity, there’s a greater need than ever to encourage and foster an environment of patience and acceptance for all."

He concluded, "As the child of Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in the great country of Canada, I see myself as someone able to give over the message – Accept those who are different than yourself and give them opportunities. You will see how much they end up contributing to society."