The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center accepted an award of $3.12 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) on October 14, 2021, as a part of their recently created Main Street Economic Revitalization Program. The grant dollars will be used to help central business districts rebuild and reposition themselves in the face of a substantially changing downtown economy. Rochester was one of eight communities receiving funding, with a total investment of approximately $40 million being invested across the state.
We at DMC have received many questions about the grant. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Main Street Frant Program.
What is the Main Street Economic Revitalization Grant Program?
This is a state-funded initiative intended to provide no-cost grants for capital improvement projects in central business districts across the state.
Projects that result in improvements to any permanent structure or other asset added to a property that adds to its value are eligible. Business operational expenses are not eligible. Applicants must also have other sources of funding to “match” any funds given by this program, details are below.
Who may apply for funding?
Any person or company planning to invest in eligible capital projects in the DMC development district (map below) may apply. Priority will be given to businesses and organizations that represent veteran, disabled, Black, Indigenous, or people of color whose projects will build wealth, create jobs, and stabilize communities along the corridors.
What investments may be funded by the grant?
Capital investments, such as:
− Repair or renovation of real property, including expansions and additions
− Demolition, site preparation, and building construction
− Landscaping, streetscaping and related site amenities
− Engineering, pre-design and design work
What are the primary objectives?
– Revitalizing properties in the DMC district harmed by the events of the past two years.
– Elevating opportunities for BIPOC, veteran, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), or disabled business and property owners.
– Creating and retaining permanent jobs.
– Enabling existing businesses to strengthen and diversify their products and services.
Are funds available for projects already completed? No, these funds are only available for new projects as described in your application.
What if I have already started the project?
The funds can’t be used for work already in progress. However, the funds can be used for work that has not yet been started. The work yet-to-be-done would need to be described in your application.
What investments may NOT be funded by the grant?
The purchase of real estate is not eligible, nor are business operations or business operating expenses, such as inventory, wages, or working capital.
How much is the DMC EDA’s grant award?
The DMC EDA will be distributing up to $3 million in grants with a maximum of $750,000 per award. These grant awards can cover up to 30% of the project cost. The remaining funds must come from other sources. For example: a. A $100,000 capital project can be awarded up to $30,000 in Main Street Grant funds. The remaining balance must be funded through other sources.
What can be used for the matching funds?
Loans, equity, and local government funding not derived from state or federal sources can be used for the match.
When can interested applicants apply for funding?
The DMC EDA intends to begin accepting applications no later than May 2022. DEED requires all funds to be awarded no later than Dec 31, 2024, and the projects must be completed by Dec 31, 2026. If you have a project that might qualify, we encourage you to contact [email protected] to set up a call for more information.
What is the application process?
DEED has designated the DMC EDA to develop a customized application process for projects in Rochester. The DMC EDA is engaging local stakeholders, and will utilize a community co-design team, to develop an accessible application and review process. The details of this application process will be forthcoming as the design of the application gets developed.
What details will be finalized in the coming weeks and months? A) Identifying community co-designers that will help the DMC EDA:
Build the application and review process
Engage outreach and communication partners
Identify resources that DMC EDA can make available to applicants
B) Building and publishing a webpage
C) Begin reviewing applications
D) Issuing grant awards
Who is providing the grant funding?
Funding is provided by the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MN DEED).
Why did the State of Minnesota initiate this program?
The grant program is intended to help central business districts physically rebuild and reposition themselves in the face of a substantially changing downtown economy.
Who is administering the grant program in Rochester?
The Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA), a private non-profit corporation located in downtown Rochester, MN. The DMC EDA applied for and secured the grant award with the support of the City of Rochester.
Eligible projects must be within the DMC District boundaries (map above).
This year, three Rochester-based startups were finalists at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management’s esteemed startup competition, the MN Cup. All three of these startups won their respective divisions, and Nanodropper took home the top prize for the entire competition.
Bookended by immersive riverfront experiences, the commentary at the 2021 DMC annual meeting imbued audience members with messages of civic pride, optimism, and hope for the future.
Speaking to the masked, socially-distanced group of stakeholders and community members were DMC Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) Executive Director Patrick Seeb, DMC EDA Board President Dr. Clark Otley, Rochester City Council President Brooke Carlson, and DMC Corporation (DMCC) Board Chair R.T. Rybak.
Seeb began the evening by voicing gratitude to those present, a conglomeration of representatives from all levels of government, neighborhood leaders, community organizations, businesses, and individual citizens. All of them, he joked, are “rowing in the same direction (if I can use a river metaphor) to build a stronger, more vital community that lives up to the authentic brand of America’s City for Health, America’s Med City.”
Rochester caught a glimpse of its potential future at the 2021 DMC annual meeting, thanks to a large-scale, interactive prototype of a reactivated Zumbro riverfront. In the late afternoon, information booths dotted the pathway between 4th Street SW and 2nd Street SW and sparked thoughtful, educational interactions between attendees and stakeholders from every facet of the community.
Everything from nature to transportation, from history to diversity, was up for discussion.
On two separate nights this summer, Mayo Civic Center’s Riverfront Plaza was alight with paper lanterns, cheerful reunions, and healthy arrays of international foods and artisanal goods. That vibrance is a hallmark of the Night Market, an event founded by Tiffany Alexandria as a way to bring a bit of Asia to the Med City. The third and final Night Market for 2021 runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 18 at the Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Art Center.
The recent Hyatt House ribbon-cutting ceremony marked a milestone for Rochester. The event heralded the completion of the city’s first Qualified Opportunity Zone project: a hotel of 172 apartment-style, long-stay suites designed to provide crucial comfort for patients traveling into the city.
“This is really a home away from home for people who need a place of comfort and safety,” said Chris Schad, Director of Business Development for Discovery Square. “People who are staying here become members of our community.”
Thousands of people returned to downtown Rochester this month to celebrate the return of Thursdays Downtown, a summer staple in the community. Amid the live music, food, and shopping, attendees could also spend time checking out the big changes happening in the Heart of the City Phase 1 project.
DMC Economic Development Agency executive director Patrick Seeb, City of Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, and Rochester Downtown Alliance executive director Holly Masek stopped by the Heart of the City Thursday morning to welcome residents and visitors to the first Thursdays Downtown of the year. They shared that as the summer progresses, parts of the Heart of the City project will re-open as soon as they’re complete.
If speaking on behalf of downtowns across America, Mark Twain might have quipped “…the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
In most communities, the downtown is its central gathering place, home to event and hotel venues, a concentration of businesses and their workforce, and the greatest mix of unique restaurants and retail. It is where baby boomers and millennials alike have migrated to live a vibrant urban lifestyle. It is where traveling visitors often begin their exploration of a region.
“My announcement today is that all lights are green when it comes to this important rapid transit bus project for the city of Rochester,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar last Friday at a press conference at the Rochester Government Center.
Senator Klobuchar was joined by Rochester City Council President Brooke Carlson and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) Executive Director Patrick Seeb.
She highlighted the project’s potential impact to the city’s fabric of caregiving, as well as the high-level federal interest in it. In May of 2021 it was announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) had rated the project as “Medium-High.” Her former presidential debate stage mate, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, included $56 million for the project in his proposed $2.5 billion budget for 2022. These “breadcrumbs,” as she called them Friday, are why the senator sees green lights.
One Discovery Square, Mortenson’s life sciences building which opened in 2019 in the Discovery Square sub-district in downtown Rochester, reached a major milestone this spring: the building is now 100 percent leased. Thermo Fisher Scientific is the latest company to commit to space alongside other tenants, including Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota Rochester, Epic, Philips, Boston Scientific, RION, WuXi Diagnostics, Cytotheryx, Exact Sciences and Café Steam. The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors at a recent meeting commended the continued momentum in the sub-district.