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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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DMC board approves four major projects

DMC board approves four major projects

Four projects — with a combined total investment of $342 million — won approval from the Destination Medical Center Corp. Board on Thursday.

Wells Fargo building

The owner of the Wells Fargo complex in downtown Rochester is proposing some big changes (see cover image) to the six-story glass structure. Ryan Companies, which purchased the building earlier this year, plans to renovate and expand the lobby, "re-skin" the exterior, and improve the connections between the three levels of pedestrian access (street, skyway and subway).

Private investment: $26.5 million

Public assistance: $2.4 million

Bloom waterfront development

The developer, Abu Dhabi-based Bloom International Realty, plans to build a multi-use development anchored by two towers along the west side of the Zumbro River. The nearly 1 million square-foot complex includes a four-star hotel, 132 condominiums and 215 units of senior housing. Public amenities include an ice skating rink, boardwalk and rooftop park.

Private investment: $230 million  

Public assistance: $18 million

 The Bloom project is expected to be broken up into two stages / Rendering by AE7

The Bloom project is expected to be broken up into two stages / Rendering by AE7

Holiday Inn makeover

EKN Development Group plans to convert the 173-room Holiday Inn into a boutique hotel, branded as "Hotel Indigo." The proposal calls for a new facade and rooftop bar, plus updates to the hotel rooms, lobby and second-floor restaurant. The renovation is one of three large-scale projects being pitched within the DMC district by the California-based developer.

Private investment: $41.5 million

Public assistance: $3 million

Hyatt House hotel

This proposal calls for a 175-room, extended-stay hotel on the corner of 1st Avenue and Civic Center Drive. Demolition of the existing American Legion building is slated for this fall, with an expected completion of the new eight-story hotel projected for the end of 2019. 

Private investment: $44 million

Public assistance: $3.9 million

A few notes regarding public assistance

  • Two of the projects — Bloom and Hyatt House — have what is called a "look-back" option regarding public assistance. Essentially, if the developer spends less than expected, DMC and the City of Rochester can adjust their financial contributions accordingly. While reviewing the Bloom proposal, board member Jim Bier noted the option allows the city to share in the risk. “This board has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the public dollars. I don’t feel that we’re trying to nick the developer. We definitely support it … I know I do. But we want to share in the risk, too. There are a lot of moving parts on this project.”
  • Public assistance for each project is divided between city dollars and DMC infrastructure spending. Any money invested by the city counts toward its required $128 million contribution to DMC. It is worth noting all four projects OK'ed by DMC still need city council approval.
  • The amount of public money, as a percentage, put into these four projects is less than the previous four private developments approved by DMC. The $11.8 million in public assistance from DMC represents 3.3 percent of the total investment, compared to 8.2 percent for the last four projects. "I think we are starting to see a shift away from heavy emphasis on DMC public support for private projects as we begin to anticipate more demand for public infrastructure, transportation and the public realm," DMC's Patrick Seeb said Thursday.

Cover graphic: Rendering of the Wells Fargo redevelopment project

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