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Potential DMC result: $100 million Mayo Clinic hospital tower

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If Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center is approved by the Legislature, one of the first concrete results probably will be construction of a $100 million hospital tower on the Saint Marys Hospital campus, a Mayo official said Wednesday.

Dr. Bradly Narr, DMC medical director, said once the bill passes, he expects Mayo Clinic in Rochester to announce within a couple of years that it will move forward with the project that's been delayed even as Mayo in Arizona and Florida have seen multimillion-dollar hospital construction projects.

Narr said the hospital tower will go atop the Post-Anesthesia-Care-Unit addition already under construction. Passage of the DMC bill will allow Mayo to move forward with the hospital tower once the PACU addition is finished in about two years, without incurring the $1 million cost of removing cranes and then putting them back up.

"It'll go right up from there," said Narr, speaking at the Post-Bulletin Dialogues event at the University of Minnesota Rochester attended by about 200 people.

During the next three years, he said, "I believe it'll come to fruition" to accommodate complex heart and neurological surgeries.

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Under the DMC plan, Mayo Clinic pledges to invest $3.5 billion to expand its Rochester campus and leverage $2.2 billion in private investment to help establish the city as a global destination for health care. In exchange, the clinic wants more than $500 million in help from the state to pay for infrastructure supporting those projects. The bill would allow a portion of the additional state income, sales, business and corporate taxes generated by the projects to fund those upgrades. Mayo projects it would create up to 40,000 jobs.

The event also offered a hopeful sign to its backers. House Tax Committee Chairwoman Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, predicted the DMC bill will pass the legislature in some form.

"I think it will," she said after serving on the Dialogues panel.

Lenczewski believes Rochester should play a greater role in funding infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks and sewers to accommodate private development spurred by Mayo Clinic growth. And she'd rather oversight for the project stay in the hands of Rochester's elected officials instead of a board with members from across the state.

The end result might not be what DMC proponents are hoping for.

But,Lenczewski stated, "the House will pass something, the Senate will pass something."

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Gov. Mark Dayton, along with Chief of Staff Tina Smith, who's taking a lead role in the DMC talks, plan to visit the Heintz Center Common Area at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester tonight at 6 p.m., 1926 College View Road East, for a town-hall meeting where it's likely DMC will be a topic of discussion.

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