Two Discovery Square

Artists rendering of the proposed Two Discovery Square, left, with One Discovery Square right. View is looking southwest.

Plans for a new, five-story complex to be built in downtown Rochester signals the start of the next phase of the development of Destination Medical Center's Discovery Square subdistrict.

Following its recently completed One Discovery Square complex, Twin Cities-based M.A. Mortenson Co. filed plans last week for a new, five-story, 121,295-square-foot building to be called Two Discovery Square.

Plans show the proposed building to be located at 300 Second Ave. SW on land that's now a Mayo Clinic parking lot, immediately south of the smaller, four-story One Discovery Square center. It's not clear if the two buildings will be connected, though a Mortenson drawing shows they will match in appearance.

As mapped out, the pair of Discovery Square buildings will share parking spaces. The plan says no additional parking spaces are proposed for Two Discovery Square.

The proposed complex is the latest development in DMC's 16-block Discovery Square sub-district described to be a “hub for bio-medicine, research and technology innovation." The site development also maps out "an approximate future location" for a much smaller Three Discovery Square building on a grassy area at the southwest corner of Third Avenue Southwest and Fifth Street Southwest.

In written responses to a Post Bulletin inquiry, neither Mortenson nor the Destination Medical Center office addressed a reporter's questions about Two Discovery Square's potential tenants, construction timeline or the estimated value of the project. The 89,000-square-foot One Discovery Square building was valued at an estimated $35 million.

While the site plans for Two Discovery Square were filed with the city on Aug. 1, the developers stressed that the project is still evolving.

"One Discovery Square, highlighted by a number of long-awaited but recently released tenant announcements, has been a terrific success. For that reason, we remain bullish on the future of the Discovery Square district. The site development plan is evidence of that bullishness," said Mortenson's Development Manager Brent Webb via email on Monday.

Webb added that more work has to be done to move ahead with the project.

"Its approval means we’re one step closer to advancing the project on an aggressive time line. However, much work and significant public engagement lies ahead before we can bring Two Discovery Square to life," he wrote.

This project follows the One Discovery Square development that was built by Mortenson on Mayo Clinic land. Several tenants for that building, which is anchored by Mayo Clinic, have been announced in the past few months.

Mortenson has declined to say what percentage of complex is leased to tenants, though officials "hope to share more information prior to our grand opening event in September."

Mayo Clinic and Boston Scientific announced last week that they would be opening a 1,800-square-foot business research lab together in One Discovery Square. The joint venture will be called Motion Medical. 

Amsterdam-based Royal Philips also recently confirmed plans to open an office in the building to collaborate with Mayo Clinic. Space on the first floor is committed to Epic Systems of Wisconsin, which works closely with Mayo Clinic on electronic medical records projects.

While it hasn’t been officially announced, building permits also show a joint partnership between Mayo Clinic and a Chinese firm called WuXi Diagnostics is taking space on the third floor.

A local coffee shop, Café Steam @ Discovery Square, is setting up a location within One Discovery Square. The University of Minnesota Rochester has also signed up for two educational spaces in the complex.

The DMC Economic Development Agency issued a statement attributed to Executive Director Lisa Clarke on Monday in response to questions about the Two Discovery Square plans.

"One Discovery Square is a great example of the DMC plan playing out in a very successful way — as a catalyst and economic generator to attract new businesses and jobs. This success compels new developments in the Discovery Square subdistrict. We look forward to these discussions as Discovery Square continues to grow," Clarke said.

What's your reaction?