ROCHESTER, Minnesota — It's been nearly three years since Minnesota legislators approved state funding for Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center, a massive project that will overhaul the face of downtown Rochester.
But movement has been slow on one of the first pieces of the project, a mixed-use building of more than 20 stories a few blocks from Mayo headquarters, and some residents are beginning to wonder why.
City leaders acknowledge that some expectations aren't being met yet, but they say there's more going on than can be seen at street level.
Chairman Jeff Bolton of the Destination Medical Center's Economic Development Agency, the Mayo Clinic's private entity responsible for watching over the project, told Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1Q9FZxW ) that a slow start isn't necessarily a bad thing, and that he would be more concerned if projects started popping up quickly without intentional planning. A national search for a developer to work on the city's bio-business center should take place this year, and it's expected to attract high-level jobs to the city, he said.
The developer, Titan Development and Investments, has said it's close to finalizing major details on the project and expects to break ground this spring.
Preliminary plans for the mixed-use building call for 150 rental apartments and as much as 30,000 square feet of commercial office space. The plans also call for a four-star hotel and retail space on the ground floor, including a grocery store and several restaurants.
Two other major pieces of the project, expansions to the Mayo Civic Center and Mayo's Saint Marys Hospital, are already underway. The $84 million civic center expansion is nearly halfway done, while the $93 million in upgrades to the hospital will continue through 2017.
The 20-year project is intended to remake downtown Rochester, generate $5 billion in private investment and attract 32,000 new residents.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org