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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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UMR secures space in Discovery Square

UMR secures space in Discovery Square

The University of Minnesota Rochester will join Mayo Clinic as an anchor tenant of Destination Medical Center's first Discovery Square building — a 90,000-square-foot research and development complex set to break ground later this year.

On Monday night, the Rochester City Council unanimously approved the university's request to use $1.5 million in city sales tax for the expansion. The funds will come out of the $14 million approved for UMR as part of the 2012 sales tax referendum. The University of Minnesota Finance Office has already agreed to commit an additional $1.5 million in debt financing for the project.

The plan is for UMR, a public university specializing in health sciences, to construct one or two chemistry labs in the building, along with additional space for instruction. The university's presence will be strategically distributed among several floors, allowing for students to work in close proximity to Mayo researchers and other professionals.

"UMR intends for our presence in the building to complement and enhance collaborations among the tenants," Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle wrote in a letter to the city. 

Lehmkuhle — who will retire at the end of the month after serving as the only chancellor in UMR's decade-long history — said the school will sign a 10-year lease for the "learn labs" and other open spaces, and a 25-year lease for the chemistry lab(s). 

UMR has been growing since its inaugural year, and is set to welcome its largest incoming class in history this fall. It has outlined future plans to expand its campus to the south side of downtown.

Mayo's plans for DS-1

The building —  to be constructed on the corner of 4th Street SW and 2nd Avenue SW — aims to serve as a catalyst for Discovery Square, a 16-block area that Mayo and local officials want to develop as a life science research campus.

In addition to UMR, Mayo Clinic has detailed its own plans to take up 30,000 square feet, or about half, of the building's space. Researchers from its regenerative medicine and individualized medicine programs will be among DS-1's first tenants. The goal is to also house startups looking for the opportunity to collaborate.

Mayo is partnering with Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Company to expand its research, commercial and product development space by more than 2 million square feet.

Cover graphic: Rendering / RSP Architects

Update: The square footage of DS-1 was revised 7/18 to reflect the latest estimate from the DMC Economic Development Agency.

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