Discovery Square Construction

University of Minnesota Rochester will become the second tenant (after Mayo Clinic) of the new Discovery One building in downtown Rochester.

The University of Minnesota Rochester hopes to offer classes and student labs this fall in the under-construction Discovery Square building.

Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Co. announced Wednesday that UMR has signed a lease as “an anchor tenant” in the new One Discovery Square.

Mortenson is building the four-story, 89,000-square-foot complex at the corner of Fourth Street Southwest and Second Avenue Southwest. One Discovery Square is the first building to go up in Mayo Clinic’s Destination Medical Center subdistrict of Discovery Square.

One Discovery is anticipated to be the nucleus for a series of commercial science buildings within the 16-block Discovery Square subdistrict.

UMR is the first tenant to sign a lease, other than Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic has signed up for 30,000 square feet spread over multiple floors.

The university is leasing 9,383 square feet, according to UMR Chief of Staff Jay Hesley. “Active learning classroom and collaborative space” will occupy 3,800 square feet on the first floor. The “wet” labs will be located on the third floor in 5,583 square feet of space.

The lease for the first-floor space is for 10 years. The third-floor space is for 15 years. For the first year, UMR will pay $21.87 per square foot.

“We hope to have fall classes there. That is our intention,” Hesley said. “One of our most pressing needs is access to wet lab spaces to provide for our growing student numbers.”

While no staff members will be based in the One Discovery complex, UMR sees having classes and labs there as providing students a chance to connect with professionals from Mayo Clinic and any other future tenants.

UMR already has downtown space in the University Square mall and in the 318 Commons building.

How does this new lease fit into the plan for the proposed 10-acre campus near Soldiers Field Park?

The UMR vision is having multiple locations, including the campus plan, Hesley said.

“We’ve always talked about a distributed model. There was probably never going to be a situation where UMR would have all its space in one location,” he said. “The idea is that students would be distributed throughout the community. This fits with that long-term vision.”

Mortenson, which is looking for tenants to fill 49,000 square feet of space, seems pleased with the addition of UMR.

“Youth, energy and the beginner’s mind are foundational elements of innovation. UMR brings plenty of each, creating a culture of intellectual curiosity within One Discovery Square, which will accelerate commercialization and ensure that what’s here is what’s next,” Mortenson Director of Development Jeremy Jacobs said in announcing the agreement with the university.

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