Construction on 23-story downtown tower just 'weeks' away
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The Destination Medical Center Corporation Board on Thursday held its first meeting since adopting a comprehensive development plan earlier this month.
Here are five key takeaways from the meeting:
I. Broadway at Center
The board approved the Broadway at Center building as a DMC project.
Plans by Titan Development call for a 264-room Hilton Hotel, about three dozen housing units and commercial space. It will be the biggest project in Rochester since the construction of the Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building.
The city expects the project to spur $140 million in private investment, generate $1 million in annual tax revenue and produce 250 permanent jobs.
Titan said construction will begin “within weeks" and take about two years to complete.
The board also approved the city's $6 million acquisition of the Chateau Theatre in downtown Rochester.
The city will contribute $5.5 million in public funding toward the project; the Mayo Clinic will kick in the remianing $500,000.
Built in 1927 as a live-performance and movie house, the theater has sat empty since the end of last year when Barnes and Nobles moved out.
The future use will be determined after a process that will include public input. Once its use is determined, it could take several million dollars to renovate.
III. New EDA director
The privately-held DMC Economic Development Agency announced the hiring of Lisa Clarke as its executive director.
Clarke has spent 17 years with Mayo Clinic in progressive roles, including the last four as one of the initiative's most prominent figures.
She has served as the EDA's interim executive director since 2013. She will no be responsible for transitioning the agency from the DMC planning stage to the implementation phase.
IV. Downtown presence
The EDA will move into a high-profile office space located downtown to "provide visibility and easy access to the public."
The offices will occupy a ground-level location in the Rosa Parks Pavilion. Clarke and a staff of four others will move into the space in September.
The EDA will soon be posting job openings for: economic development director, community relations manager, executive assistance and finance manager.
The Mayo Clinic has agreed to pitch in an additional $2.1 million to help underwrite the EDA costs. That's in addition to the $8.3 million the clinic has already invested in DMC.
In addition to reviewing potential DMC projects, the board will spend the summer taking on some key social and environmental issues.
Former Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak urged the board to make energy and sustainability priorities over the next few months, suggesting that DMC has the potential to change how energy is produced in southern Minnesota.
Other members brought up the need to discuss historic preservation, small business development and public health — all issues that were repeatedly brought up during public hearings.
(Cover graphic: The Med City Beat)