Seven years into a 20-year plan, an ambitious effort to transform downtown Rochester has attracted $1.4 billion in new development.
Destination Medical Center initiative officials say they are confident of meeting or exceeding the $5.6 billion goal by the projected end date of 2035.
“I will say here and now that I will be shocked if we don’t go over $5.6 billion,” said Patrick Seeb, executive director of the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency.
Rochester has a lot at stake in the success of the plan, which aims to transform downtown living, working and leisure facilities as the region hopes to further consolidate itself as an international medical hub.
A lobbying effort led by the Mayo Clinic successfully urged the Minnesota Legislature to offer up to $585 million in taxpayer grants for the project in 2013. Known to locals as DMC, the program technically only started in 2015, although the community had already sought investment in the project. DMC umbrella. State funding was not available until the community passed a $200 million investment threshold in 2016.
Since then, the community has received state assistance for DMC every year, while the City of Rochester has spent approximately $59 million on DMC projects since 2013, with at least an additional $36 million committed.
To date, DMC says about $180 million in public funds have been spent in the community and another $1.26 billion in private investments. This includes projects such as the ongoing Bryk on Broadway mixed-use housing project and the University of Minnesota Rochester’s recent $50 million deal to lease the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel for the next 12 years to to provide student accommodation.
At DMC’s annual meeting on Thursday night, local officials highlighted projects large and small, ranging from shopping and research centers in Discovery Square to replacing sidewalks downtown, making snow clearing easier.
Currently, DMC officials are in preliminary talks with developers to help fund public infrastructure for seven housing developments in or near the city center, as well as five hotel projects and a science innovation project. of life.
“You put the public infrastructure in place, and then public and private investment follows that,” said Pam Wheelock, president of Destination Medical Center Corp.
That’s not counting DMC’s role in a future riverside neighborhood, where the City of Rochester has $300 million to develop 5.5 acres near the Zumbro River with commercial, residential and recreational space. Rochester City Council approved the plan in July. Seeb said DMC has yet to discuss what contribution he might make.
DMC officials are looking to build on soon-to-be-completed projects, such as the Discovery Walk trail along 2nd Ave. SW. at the soldiers’ ground. A third Discovery Square hub may be in the works in the future, along with trails connecting Soldiers Field Memorial Park in the southwest part of downtown to Silver Lake Park to the northeast.
“It’s a long-term game,” Wheelock said. “It’s really about how it resets the path of a community for the next generation or two or three.”