Rochester’s former Kmart parking lot has sat mostly empty in the months since the city, the property owner and Mayo Clinic reached an agreement that will eventually allow nearly 1,400 parking spaces at the site.
“We expect to resume shuttle service to the Kmart lot later this summer or early fall,” said Ginger Plumbo, a spokeswoman from the clinic’s Department of Public Affairs
The contract between Mayo Clinic and Camegaran LLC, which owns the property, remains in place, but the added parking for Saint Marys Hospital employees hasn't been needed due to staffing and other adjustments made amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rochester Deputy City Administrator Aaron Parrish said the same holds true for the parking spaces dedicated to the city as part of the three-way agreement that made the Mayo Clinic park-and-ride option possible.
“We’re still trying to consider how to prioritize those,” he said of the city spaces, noting reduced downtown parking pressure and relaxed enforcement in residential areas means demand for the new parking spots is nonexistent at this point.
Still, he said the 7 ½-year agreement remains in place with established deadlines for moving forward.
Among requirements are the completion of phase 1 landscaping by the end of September and demolition of the former Kmart building by the end of 2022. Failing to meet either deadline would result in a $4,000 monthly penalty to be paid to the city.
The agreement also calls for the creation of a small-area plan to identify potential options for the property and surrounding area.
Perkins and Will, a national firm, was hired last month to oversee what is expected to be a nine-month effort to define what could be developed in the approximately 61 acres between Broadway and Third avenues and Fourth Street Southeast and 9 ½ Street Southeast.
The city is paying a third of the $90,000 contract, with another $30,000 coming from the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency and $15,000 each from Mayo Clinic and Camegaran, which owns the Kmart site.
Parrish said kickoff meetings for the planning efforts are expected to start this month, with the consultants joined by city officials, property owners and neighborhood residents, as well as others.