Month: April 2024

Unprecedented Demand and Opportunity

The 2024 Real Estate Development and Investment Summit, a collaboration between Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) and ULI Minnesota, promised unprecedented demand and opportunity – and it delivered.

The morning began with an insightful panel highlighting the current and future plans of key stakeholders in Rochester, including Mayo Clinic, the City of Rochester, and University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR). Representatives from Mayo Clinic unveiled their strategic initiative, “Bold. Forward. Unbound. in Rochester,” which aims to revolutionize healthcare through innovative care concepts and digital technologies. Chancellor Lori Carrell of UMR discussed the university’s rapid innovation focus and tailored education solutions.

The City of Rochester, amidst unprecedented levels of public and private investment, nearing $7 billion over the next 7 years, showcased its strategic infrastructure investments and partnerships to support sustainable growth. Deputy City Administrator Cindy Steinhauser outlined the city’s efforts to position itself for transformation while fostering an environment for additional private investment to thrive.

Attendees had the opportunity to explore Rochester’s development opportunities through guided tours:

Link Bus Rapid Transit & West Transit Village: Participants toured the planned 2.9-mile bus route along 2nd Street, learning about development opportunities, including the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) village.

Bold. Forward. Unbound.: This tour showcased the evolving downtown community and Mayo Clinic’s growth, highlighting connections to hospitality, neighborhoods, and public transportation.

Riverfront Small Area Plan: Attendees walked along the Zumbro River to explore Rochester’s community vision captured in the Riverfront Small Area Plan, focusing on potential public and private investment opportunities.

Discovery Square: Dubbed “Healthcare meets Hospitality,” this tour provided insights into the Biomed-tech buildings and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Discovery Square innovation district.

Housing: Tour groups visited Bryk on Broadway, a mixed-income apartment building, and explored the University of Minnesota’s conversion of the Doubletree Hotel into a student housing complex.

The 2024 Real Estate Development and Investment Summit exemplified Rochester’s commitment to innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth, setting the stage for an exciting future in the heart of Minnesota.

DMC and ULI Minnesota would like to thank our sponsors for their support
Gold Level





Silver Level








Bronze Level
Kraus-Anderson Construction
Ryan Companies
Premier Bank

2024 Real Estate Development and Investment Summit Resources

Main Street Grant Stories: Anderson Wheelchair

58 years. 

That’s how long Anderson Wheelchair, 1117 Second St SW, has provided mobility to residents and visitors to Med City.

The shop sells, rents, customizes, and services mobility products. Best known for skillful wheelchair customization, their staff works with everything from hospital beds and lifts to walkers and scooters. Though ultimately of a personal, mechanical nature, the work requires coordination with a network of therapists, doctors, insurers, and customers to get a mobility solution just right. 

In the last 15 years, their software has logged over 20,000 people served, but in terms of total people helped during the company’s lifespan:

“It’s almost impossible to put a number on that question,” says Drew Anderson, part-owner of the business with his brother and their father, Jay, who has run the business for the last 30 years.  

“It’s a third-generation, family business,” says Anderson. “Grandpa and Grandma started the business out of their garage 58 years ago. Since then, last 30-plus years, my dad has taken over and run it along with my uncle who helped out. Now my brother and I are the third generation.”

The business has grown alongside the family. In January of 2023, Anderson Wheelchairs started work with architects and contractors on the next-door six-apartment complex they’d acquired. The goal: join the new space to their old one to increase capacity for both product inventory and customization workspace. 

“That allowed us to stock more inventory, which allows us to help more people,” says Anderson. “In a sense, it can be compared to a bike shop; the same bike is not meant for every person. Having more inventory on hand is helpful for us in our community,” says Anderson.

Anderson Wheelchair was awarded $88,548 through DMC’s Main Streets Grants program to help with the remodel of the interior and facade.

“We redid our entire facade. Instead of having two separate facades, there’s now one conjoined, uniform look between the building we’ve operated out of for the last 40 or 50 years to our new building,” says Anderson.

The expansion has allowed them to hire one new employee so far; a search for a maintenance technician and people to work on internal sales and customer service continues. Aside from COVID-19 and its attendant lockdowns and closures of public spaces, Anderson says that’s been the biggest challenge his business has faced since 2020: finding new employees.

“During COVID, the Mayo Clinic basically shutting down was a challenge, as people stopped coming, people stopped going out. So that was a challenge. But everybody knows that wasn’t easy on any business.,” says Anderson. “We are back to normal in terms of just about every aspect of the business.”

The visitor-friendly nature of their shop’s location means they won’t have trouble dealing with an increased customer base, either. 

“Every business that’s located down here does have parking, even a small business like us, we have at least 15 parking spots in the back of our office. Or whether it’s Caribou Coffee or The Canadian Honker… just about every business in the downtown district does have parking,” says Anderson.

Main Street Grant Stories: The Landing

It’s hard to imagine a place in Rochester where a dollar’s impact can cause more positive ripples than The Landing, 426 3rd Ave SE.

The organization was founded in 2018 to provide direct support to members of the Rochester community experiencing homelessness and has operated some iteration of a day center since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In November of 2023, The Landing opened its own, independent, privately funded day center. Their center is open daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., regardless of weekends, holidays, or weather.

“We figure homelessness doesn’t get a day off, so neither do we,” says Holly Fifield, co-founder of The Landing.

The $200,000 in Main Street grant funding awarded to the organization helped fund part of the renovations necessary to transform the building from pawn shop/auto garage into the clinic/office space/day shelter it is now. That construction, in turn, opened up the doors for new employees.

“Because we were able to open our new data center, we now employ 9 full-time employees and around 12 part-time employees. We have created over 20 jobs,” says Fifield.

That means 20 more people building trust and connection with Rochesterites experiencing homelessness. As trust builds, so does momentum toward stability, which lessens demand on downtown Rochester’s skyways, subways, and leafy oases.

“Coordination is just huge,” says Fifield. “It’s a lot like Mayo Clinic has a multi-specialty, multidisciplinary approach. They bring all the specialties under one roof. Ours is a different application of the same kind of concept; we’re bringing social services and medical care and treatment facilities and peer recovery services and all of those things under one roof so that they’re easily accessible and available to the people that need them.”

The Landing’s central location means barriers to healing stability, like transportation, communication, trust, or distrust, dissipate. The Landing’s day center is a one-stop shop for nutrition, hydration, free laundry, shower facilities, on-site medical care, and social services. It’s a place for members of the community experiencing homelessness to rest, decompress, and recover from the often minute-to-minute stresses of homelessness. The services also allow guests to move toward wellness and stability.

“They’re in a place that they know and trust with people that they know and trust in the services are right here. It’s not, ‘Let me make an appointment for you next Tuesday, somewhere else with somebody you don’t know…’,” says Fifield.

With over 50% of The Landing’s annual budget coming from public donations, the organization feels a constant tide of gratitude toward the Rochester community. Still, according to Fifield, The Landing’s biggest challenge since 2020 has been misunderstandings and misperceptions around the issue of homelessness. She encourages people to come and tour the center, to ask questions, to invite The Landing to speak at group events.

“The downtown in the business district of Rochester is a wonderful resource and area for all the members of our community. And that includes the members of our community experiencing homelessness. They are our friends, our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters, our sons, our daughters. They are members of our community, and they are needing us to link arms with them and hold them up during this very difficult time of their lives,” says Fifield.

Main Street Grant Stories: Jack’s Bottle Shop

Because of its absolute uniqueness, Jack’s Bottle Shop, 909 6th St NW, is an established pillar of the Rochester beer (and by extension social) scene. That same uniqueness means the shop doesn’t often find itself fitting neatly into bullet points on an application.

But, as owner Jack Lester says, “Stars can align sometimes like that.”

Since opening in December 2020, Lester and his staff’s meticulous, aficionado-first approach to craft beer has earned a reputation for the most varied, specific, and downright niche coolers in the city. When they decided to add a wine and spirits wing to their already-expansive emporium, Lester found himself putting in even longer nights on the never-off-the-clock small business owner schedule. Finding an application for the DMC Main Street Grants program felt serendipitous.

“When I saw the grant, while we were in the midst of building [the wine and spirits expansion] out, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is exactly what we’re about to start doing!’ Literally, every single bullet point what the grant was for was what we were just about to do,” says Lester.

The $15,000 in grant funds awarded to Jack’s Bottle Shop allowed it “to become more than a beer store,” says Lester. The funds were used to construct the wine and spirits side of the shop and to hire on a full-time beer buyer position. That buyer position will work daily with brand representatives, research new flavor horizons, and cultivate durably fresh relationships with suppliers.

“One thing that makes Jack’s Bottle Shop very special is how we have the selection that nobody else has in Rochester. Like, Jason just walked back in the door from his Twin Cities trip. He goes up every single Tuesday and picks up almost all about 70% of the beer that we carry from the breweries that we select to bring beer in from,” says Lester. “People ask all the time, like, ‘How are you getting these guys?’ We’re putting in the work to go get it.”

If it sounds like Lester’s motivation for excellence in beer selling comes from somewhere deep, that’s because it does. Lester has shepherded his store with consistent enthusiasm through a pandemic, finicky regulations, and the ever-vexing questions of growth and market. Both the bottle shop and the funds they’ve raised for the transplant house and Children’s Clinic of St. Paul are in memory of Marcus, his son.

“We lost Marcus in 2019 to a fight for a dual lung transplant. Nothing in my life has been challenging since then. That’s honest. Truth.” Lester says.  “We don’t have a lot of struggles. I love what I do. You should love what you do in life. If you’re not happy at work, go be happy somewhere else and work somewhere different. My biggest challenge here has been nothing close to what life can present.”

That attitude has translated into a citywide embrace of the enthusiasm crackling through the coolers and over-the-counter interactions at Jack’s Bottle Shop. Each interaction means the world to Lester and his staff.

“I’m so grateful for everybody that goes out of their way to drive across town to come to Jack’s bottle shop and be greeted by us and shop with us. Every single person that pulls our door makes a difference,” he says.

2024 Real Estate Development and Investment Summit

Register Here

When: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | 9:30 a.m.
Where:  Mayo Civic Center – 30 Civic Center Drive SE
What: The 2024 Real Estate Developer and Investment Summit presented by Destination Medical Center and ULI Minnesota! Join us on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at the Mayo Civic Center for an exciting day of networking and learning about the scale and scope of opportunities in Rochester, MN.

At this event, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with real estate developers and investment professionals from around the region. Whether you’re an experienced investor or just starting out, this summit is designed to provide valuable insights and opportunities specific to the Rochester, MN market.

Register Here

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Silver Sponsors






Bronze Sponsors

Kraus Anderson
Premier Banks
Ryan Companies