'The right mixing spot' for Discovery Square

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Discovery Square exterior
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The first of the Discovery Square buildings will be built on a downtown Rochester surface parking lot.

Jeremy Jacobs of Minneapolis-based Mortenson Co. announced the first details on the long-anticipated Mayo Clinic and Destination Medical Center project on Thursday.

The plan is to build an estimated four-story, 89,000-square-foot complex. It's slated to built at the corner of Fourth Street Southwest and Second Avenue Southwest. That's on Mayo Clinic's employee parking Lot No. 2.

This will be the first Mortenson's development of an estimated 2 million square feet of research and development space in the DMC Discovery Square subdistrict. Mayo Clinic chose Mortenson to drive the massive project. The developer will own the building. Mayo Clinic will be the anchor tenant with the rest of the facility to be filled with scientific and health care firms looking for easy access to Mayo Clinic.

"Mayo Clinic will take less than half of the building," said Jacobs. "We are certainly in conversations with possible tenants, but there are none we can announce at this time. We hope to have agreements in the coming weeks."


Colliers International of Canada will serve as the leasing agent and oversee tenant recruitment in partnership with Mortenson and Rochester's DMC Economic Development Agency led by Lisa Clarke.

If everything goes according to Mortenson's plan, construction will start in November with it expected to be finished before the end of 2019.

To clear the way for this initial Discovery Square project, Jacobs says Mayo Clinic's 428 Building, the former Vine Funeral Home, at 428 Third Ave. SW will be eventually be demolished.

Construction will also eat up a lot of the 288 Mayo Clinic parking spots on 2.77 acre lot.

Jacobs says part of the block will be remain a surface parking lot at first, but more Discovery Square facilities are expected to be built in the future on that block.

Mortenson's series of commercial science buildings are targeted for a six-core-block area of the 16-block Discovery Square subdistrict.

HOK of St. Louis, Mo. and Minneapolis-based RSP Architects are designing the buildings. At Thursday's DMC Corp. Board of Directors meeting, HOK Design Principal Eli Hoisington and Jacobs rolled out the early plans for this first facility.

"I think this is right mixing pot with the right ingredients to make it happen," Hoisington said.


A major theme for the building is to provide access to Mayo Clinic. The clinic's offices will be spread across multiple floors. The idea is to spur the random "collisions" that many of today's entrepreneurs and venture capitalists claim drive innovation and result in the creation of important products and ideas.

Common spaces will be centralized within the building to encourage tenants to talk and possibly work together.

Related Topics: MAYO CLINIC
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