Has the $27 million investment in the Minnesota BioBusiness Center paid off for Rochester?

It appears that it has.

The income from the city-owned, eight-story building in the past seven years has covered the original construction expenses as well as the day-to-day maintenance, according to Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann. The center at at 221 First Ave. SW is currently 99 percent leased by many small companies as well as the main tenant, Mayo Clinic.

Overall, the building has housed almost 30 businesses, some of which have outgrown it. It also has provided a launching point for many small start-ups through the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator.

"It's working. It may not be exactly as we envisioned it, but it's working," said Gary Smith, president of the Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. "There are 27 businesses that weren't there before the building was built."

He estimates that about 80 new jobs have been created in the building. That estimate does not include the Mayo Clinic employees or anyone working at Dooley's Pub, Think Bank, Think Insurance or the College of St. Scholastica. It does count 40 jobs that originated in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator

Mayo Clinic currently has 303 employees working in 64,246-square-feet of space in the Biobusiness Center.

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