Destination Medical Center Plans Now In Rochester’s Hands
The Destination Medical Center Corporation submitted its plans Thursday to the City of Rochester for its $6 billion, 20-year development project, initiating a 60-day public review period before officials determine whether to approve the plan this spring.
In a meeting of the DMCC’s oversight board, an amended set of goals called for more than $5 billion in private investment to the region. The DMCC reiterated its target of creating roughly 35,000 to 45,000 new jobs and generating about $7.5 billion to $8 billion in new net tax revenue over 35 years.
The Destination Medical Center is expected to be the state’s largest ever development project: it would transform downtown Rochester and nearly double its already state-best headcount of 40,000-plus employees here. The Mayo Clinic has pledged to contribute $3.5 billion in addition to private investments to make the development happen, in exchange for roughly $585 million from taxpayers for improved roads, sewers and other infrastructure. Mayo Clinic President John Noseworthy talked about why the clinic sought further growth in a 2013 interview with Twin Cities Business.
Earlier this month, planners breathed a sigh of relief when the State Legislature corrected language that doubled the amount of private investment needed for the project to have access to nearly half a billion in tax breaks.
Thursday’s board meeting featured debate over whether to first focus investment on the project’s “City Center”— the heart of downtown where Mayo Clinic converges with commercial, hospitality, retail and residential spaces—or its “Discovery Square,” a hub for bio-medical, research and technology.
Former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, now a DMCC oversight board member, said Discovery Square should be “the No. 1 place where we should start investing,” according to a live blog of the meeting. “I’m sick to death of the brain power in this community being tapped by some start-up company somewhere in Palo Alto,” Rybak said.
Fellow board member Bill George, who is also on the Mayo Clinic’s board of trustees and is a former Medtronic CEO, disagreed, saying that “hospitality, transportation, and shopping need improvement before we can consider the city competitive.”
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said he leaned toward focusing first on City Center because it could make a quicker impact than Discovery Square: “We can build glamorous buildings, but if we can’t see the people in those buildings, I think we’ve missed the boat.”
A copy of the DMCC’s full development plan can be found here.