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Robust Development Plan Encourages Innovation and Expertise

Venture capital groups are raising money to invest in U.S.- based infrastructure for large-scale bio-therapy manufacturing, the need for which was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q4 2020
Downtown view of Rochester, Minn., from the entrance of One Discovery Square. © William Forsman Photography
Downtown view of Rochester, Minn., from the entrance of One Discovery Square. © William Forsman Photography
Destination Medical Center (DMC) is a unique 20-year, public-private partnership and economic development initiative in Rochester, Minnesota, home to Mayo Clinic. Launched in 2013, the $5.6 billion plan is the largest in Minnesota’s history and one of the largest initiatives currently under way in the U.S. The partnership combines Mayo Clinic private development with that of other developers and investors, in addition to public infrastructure investment from the City of Rochester, Olmsted County, and the state of Minnesota.

The DMC initiative is guided by a robust development plan, which was adopted in 2015 to chart the course for development over a 20-year period. Five years into the plan, the model is working, with targets achieved for investments, tax revenues, and employment.

One of DMC’s priorities is development within Discovery Square, a 16-block, live, work and play sub-district, which serves as a unique entrepreneurial environment for businesses of all sizes. Vibrant, agile startups bring their energy to Discovery Square, while some of the largest and best-respected companies from around the world bring deep expertise to the community. The combination of innovation and expertise join forces in an ecosystem designed to encourage and equip entrepreneurs. As an example, technology companies are moving into Discovery Square and diversifying the economy while adding valuable high-technology jobs to the market.

One Discovery Square, a life science hub, opened in 2019. The 90,000-square-foot building is more than 90 percent leased, with Mayo Clinic as a major tenant. Joining Mayo Clinic are Epic, Phillips, Wuxi Diagnostics, and Boston Scientific. University of Minnesota Rochester joins these multinational companies in a uniquely serendipitous environment where, outside of the building’s coffee shop, random collisions of students interacting with researchers, educators, clinicians, and entrepreneurs routinely occur.

In September 2020, Discovery Square 2 broke ground to build on the overwhelming success of One Discovery Square. The 125,000-square-foot building will be the first in Rochester designed for wired certification, a commercial real estate rating that ensures a building is optimized with superior tech capabilities for tomorrow’s connectivity needs. Breaking ground on a new building during a pandemic proves the strength of the Rochester market, and specifically, the Discovery Square sub-district.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty, it also has highlighted the fact that U.S.- based infrastructure for large-scale bio-therapy manufacturing is inadequate. Venture capital groups are raising money to invest in this type of infrastructure. Mayo Clinic, a leader in the science of the coronavirus, has underscored its preeminence in the field, which contributes to it being an attractive partner. Discovery Square in Rochester, Minnesota, is an ideal place for these partnerships to thrive.

DMC by the Numbers:
  • DMC is a nearly $6 billion ($5.6B) economic development initiative spanning over 20 years
  • Mayo Clinic’s commitment to the DMC initiative is $3.5B, with $2.1B coming from other private investors
  • $585 million in public infrastructure support is from the state, city, and county
  • To date, there is approximately $963 million in private investment in the DMC district
  • DMC geography covers 1 square mile in downtown Rochester surrounding the Mayo Clinic campus

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