The Answer Man: The truth of the Gonda stones is uncovered

Dear Answer Man, I heard the stone for the Gonda Building is supposedly in a field somewhere so it's exposed to the weather in order to match when the additional stories are added. Is this urban legend, or rock-solid truth?

No stone is left unturned in investigating the Gonda stones.

Dear Answer Man: I have a quarry query for you: I heard years ago that when Mayo built the first 19 stories of the Gonda Building, they bought the marble stone for the exterior of the next 11 floors too. The extra stones are supposedly in a field so that they are exposed to the weather in order to match when the additional stories are added.

Now that Mayo is planning to add to the Gonda Building, I want to know: is this urban legend, or rock-solid truth? — Looking for a rock (star) answer

Dear Rocky: I had to dig deep for this one, but, as expected, I have sifted through the sediment and have uncovered a shiny nugget of truth.

Of course, this quick quartz question refers to a recently announced plan to add 11 floors to the top of the 21-story Gonda Building, including a seven-floor luxury hotel and four more clinical floors. The Gonda opened in 2001.

While the $190 million addition driven by Singapore-based Pontiac Land Group isn’t expected to be complete until 2022, I can deliver a carefully sculpted answer to your question today.


There is a foundation for that Med City legend, and there is a golden vein of truth running through it, according to Mayo experts. And the answer has a decidedly international flair.

"Mayo Clinic purchased additional white Brazilian granite, the same granite on the original building, knowing it would be incorporated into the long-planned expansion of the Gonda Building," wrote Mayo’s Kelley Luckstein in response to Rock Star’s question."

And as to the location and weather piece of this query, she added this:

"The additional stone is stored in Italy in weather that is consistent to that on the current building."

So the core answer shapes up to this: Brazilian stones are enjoying the Tuscan breezes awaiting a call from a Singapore developer to make the trip to Minnesota to join their siblings 490 feet above Rochester.

Now, Rock Star did add a postscript to his note in an attempt to dig up even more stone info. He included a link to a satellite photo of one Mayo Clinic’s nearby agrarian properties showing what looks like rows of large blocks of stone sitting outside.

The theory was that those blocks were the additional Gonda pieces. Kelley was able to help with this one, too.

"This is private property, so we ask that you don’t publish the link that you supplied, but … yes, this is where Mayo stores stone slabs from other existing buildings," she wrote.

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