DMC EDA and Experience Rochester recognized at Explore Minnesota Conference

Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) has been awarded the “Marketing Partner of the Year,” presented by Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion agency at its annual conference in Saint Paul on February 5. DMC EDA was nominated by Experience Rochester.

The “Marketing Partner of the Year” award recognizes outstanding marketing or special projects executed by an individual business which enhances the overall visibility of a community and directly impacts visitor travel to the area.

In its nomination of DMC EDA, Experience Rochester noted:

The staff members of the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) work tirelessly to make Rochester, MN an exceptional place to work, live, and visit. Experience Rochester MN is nominating DMC EDA because of their dedication to always including Rochester’s 3.3 million annual visitors — many of whom are visiting Mayo Clinic — in their mission and vision for a vibrant, innovative community. A recognition of the importance of travel & tourism is integrated into everything the DMC EDA pursues.

The award judges felt this partnership is like no other; it’s an example of economic development at its finest. An innovative concept in an innovative destination.

“It’s a wonderful honor to receive this award,” said Lisa Clarke, DMC EDA executive director. “DMC is unwavering in its commitment to providing an exceptional experience for Rochester residents and visitors. We are proud to be a collaborator with Experience Rochester and many other organizations in promotion of this great destination.”

Experience Rochester also received some hardware at the conference, winning the “Special Projects” award for its website, minnesotasrochester.com.

“We’re honored to be recognized by our peers in the state tourism industry,” said Mary Gastner, Experience Rochester interim executive director. “Our website is the number one resource for visitors. Our partnership, with Simpleview, allowed us to focus on creating a data-driven and personalized website. The new site allows guests to easily find what they are searching for and inspires exploration of our locally-owned businesses and Only-in-Rochester experiences.”

 

Destination Medical Center Corporation Board Green Lights Mobility Hub Locations in Rochester

“Our vision is for mobility villages where people can live, possibly work, and park for the day,” ~ R.T. Rybak.

The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors at its February meeting, approved a resolution supporting two preliminary mobility hub locations in Rochester, MN, and authorizing up to $400,000 in financial support for additional studies and engineering.

The two recommended mobility hub locations – approximately four miles apart – will be connected by bus rapid transit (BRT). This high-capacity circulator will transport commuters, community members, and visitors into and around downtown Rochester in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner.

“We have chosen sites for transit hubs, but our vision is they are mobility villages where people can live, possibly work and park for the day,” said DMCC Board Chair R.T. Rybak. “We don’t just want to build ramps. We want to build communities.”

Proposed Mobility Hub Locations, Rochester, MN

In addition to the significant progress with the DMC transportation plan, nine private development projects, totaling more than $300 million, have planned openings in the DMC district in 2019. They include: Hilton hotel, First Avenue parking ramp, One Discovery Square, Urban on First apartments, Residence at Discovery Square apartments, Hotel Indigo (Holiday Inn renovation), Wells Fargo renovation, Chateau Theatre short-term use renovation, and the Ronald McDonald House expansion.  

“2019 is a remarkable year for Rochester, noted DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke. “We are well on our way to achieving the DMC vision and creating a livable, sustainable and vibrant city.”

In his new role as Mayo Clinic President and CEO, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, a 30-year veteran with Mayo Clinic, met with DMCC Board members and provided a few remarks.  

“Mayo Clinic’s commitment to Rochester, the state of Minnesota and DMC is very strong,” said Farrugia. “Mayo has experienced significant growth over the last five years, and we expect even more economic growth and development going forward.”

Farrugia noted that Mayo Clinic will invest over $1 billion in Rochester facilities and equipment between now and 2021.

Following the board meeting, DMCC hosted a collaborative session with the Destination Medical Center EDA Board, Rochester City Council and Olmsted County Board of Commissioners.

 

Design Thinking Links DMC and Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) and the Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU) Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) are recent recipients of a $10,000 economic development grant through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). These funds will be used to develop and implement a design thinking workshop in the Mankato area to spur innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.

The CIE is housed within the MNSU College of Business. The organization aims to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers in south-central Minnesota by providing entrepreneurial education, supporting student startups, and facilitating impactful student project work in the community.

The overall goal of the workshop is to increase the number of innovative projects submitted to the Big Ideas Challenge, a venture competition for current and recent Minnesota State University, Mankato students and to the DMC Assistive Tech Challenge, a competition to develop new products and services for persons with disabilities. The inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge debuted in November 2018 as a partnership between Destination Medical Center Discovery Square, The ARC Minnesota SE Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group. Three MNSU teams submitted applications to the Challenge; two of the submissions were accepted into the competition.

“The founding of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship by the University College of Business was spurred by a variety of things, including a Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation report about the potential of this area and need for coordination and the types of things the Center now provides,” explains CIE Director, Dr. Yvonne Cariveau. 

Cariveau says students come to the CIE interested in entrepreneurship but sometimes cannot identify the next immediate step in development of their concepts. She hopes this design workshop will give her students tools to generate ideas and to act.

DMC EDA aims to expand the Assistive Tech Challenge to additional universities across the region. “This collaboration with the CIE serves as a critical pilot project to bring a quality design thinking workshop to the Mankato area and also functions as a test for future expansions of the workshop to other communities,” said Chris Schad, Director of Business Development for DMC Discovery Square.  “The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to provide a framework through which students can develop additional business ideas and eventual products.”

Cariveau and Schad both hope the workshops ultimately ignite interest in assistive tech and health care innovation, building strong connections between Rochester and Mankato’s entrepreneurs.

 

Historic Chateau Theatre Renovations Well Under Way

There is great excitement and passion in the Rochester community for the re-opening of the historic Chateau Theatre – currently under renovation and planned to open summer 2019.

The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board and Rochester City Council approved $1.1 million in DMC funding for this renovation. Indoor improvements are progressing, with roof repair planned for the spring.

“The Chateau Theatre is an important community asset and this renovation for initial reuse is the first step to realize the long-term vision of the Chateau Theatre,” says Patrick Seeb, DMC EDA director of economic development and placemaking and member of the Chateau Theatre reuse task force.

This renovation preserves the historic architecture of the building, removes the second floor and escalators, and improves restroom facilities, transforming this now-vacant space into a venue that can be used for many forms of entertainment including concerts, movies, comedy shows, lectures, weddings, and dinner events.

In tandem with updates being made to the Chateau Theatre, the City of Rochester and DMC EDA are seeking RFPs for programming, operations, and management of the facility.  A pre-proposal meeting will be held on January 31, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Chateau Theatre for interested parties wanting to learn more about the opportunity. RFP responses are due to the City of Rochester by February 15, 2019.

The opening of the Chateau Theatre is part of a milestone year for DMC, notes DMC EDA executive director Lisa Clarke. “The Chateau Theatre is truly at the heart of downtown Rochester, and it will create more culture and entertainment options for Rochester patients, visitors, and community members, adding to the vibrancy of the downtown and the city as a whole,” says Clarke.

To keep the community updated, DMC EDA is developing a Heart of the City web page with a highlight section on the Chateau Theatre (soon to launch). In addition, the City of Rochester has created a Chateau Theatre timeline of activity.

 

INCubatoredu – A New Course Hatches at Rochester Public Schools

The new INCubatoredu program will help students develop ideas from concept to pitch.

Rochester Public Schools (RPS) is debuting a national entrepreneurship program, INCubatoredu, this fall. This program is the first-of-its-kind in Minnesota.

INCubatoredu is a year-long course available to all RPS high school students in grades 11 and 12 (Century, John Marshall, Mayo, and RALC). Students have the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service. Real entrepreneurs and business experts serve as volunteer coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the processes of developing hypotheses about a business concept, testing those hypotheses, adapting, and continually learning and improving. This cycle of experimentation is combined with foundational business content such as marketing and finance. The course concludes with students pitching their ideas to investors to generate seed money to grow their operations.

“Entrepreneurship teaches to the heart of 21st Century skills: adaptability, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving,” says Superintendent Michael Muñoz. “We know this program will ignite passion among our students and community. It is critical for us to partner with our talented and supportive community because their contributions will immediately impact the lives of our students.”

The School District is working to establish volunteer mentors, a licensed teacher, and a downtown Rochester space for the INCubatoredu program in the coming months, recognizing that a downtown space is an ideal location for community experts and mentors, as well as offering a real-world business setting for students.

Growing and amplifying the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a priority for Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA).Image result for INCubatoredu images Chris Schad, DMC EDA’s director of business development for Discovery Square and a collaborator in Rochester’s startup community, is energized by this new program.

“The students of Rochester Public Schools have a history of going out into the world to positively impact communities near and far. This program will not only help students develop skills that most entrepreneurs have to learn on the fly, it will help develop new businesses and jobs and keep talent in our region,” notes Schad.

 

Five Questions with Ken Nelson, Publisher Rochester Post Bulletin

Ken Nelson joined the Post Bulletin as publisher in August 2018.  He has a stellar career in the newspaper industry, including more than 20 years at the Orange County Register in California.  Prior to joining the Post Bulletin, Nelson served as chief executive officer and publisher of the Erie Times-News in Pennsylvania.

Nelson has spent his first several months in Rochester getting to know the community, including a meet and greet and walking tour with Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke to learn more about the DMC initiative.

In this blog, Nelson discusses the Post Bulletin’s priorities and what sets Rochester, Minnesota, apart from other cities.

DMC: What path brought you to your current position with the Post Bulletin?

Nelson: A longtime friend of mine mentioned that the Post Bulletin was seeking a publisher.  She shared that the owners and employees are great people, Rochester is a wonderful community and that the organization was looking for someone to help the company meet the needs of a growing and changing community.

DMC: What are some of the top priorities for the organization in the coming year?

Nelson: Our top priorities are informing and engaging readers in the platform they prefer, whether in print or online, and helping local businesses thrive by connecting them to their target markets.  

DMC: What do you feel sets Rochester apart from other cities?

Nelson: Rochester is similar to many of the wonderful communities you will find across the Midwest.  It is filled with many friendly, helpful, hard-working families. The main difference is that those other communities don’t enjoy the benefits that come with having the economic foundation provided by having Mayo Clinic as a neighbor.

DMC: Why is the Destination Medical Center initiative so important to the future of Rochester?

Nelson: Mayo Clinic is a major driver of our economy.  We need to nurture and grow that economic engine.  Without DMC we don’t have the structure, the strategy or plans that will enable us to capitalize on the growth inherent in being home to the premier medical facility in the world.

DMC: What advice would you give to someone thinking about building a life, starting a career, and/or raising a family in America’s City for Health?

Nelson: Move now.  This is a great community, and the opportunities are endless.

Editor’s Note: For the second consecutive year, the Post Bulletin has been recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association as the Daily Newspaper of the Year.

 

A Message from Lisa Clarke

Rochester – A City on the Move

2019 will be a milestone year in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) district. From innovation to renovation, the growth happening in downtown Rochester is impressive. There are nine developments opening this year in the DMC district.

Among them are several DMC-supported projects, including:

In addition, Residence at Discovery Square apartments and the Ronald McDonald House expansion will debut.

Plus, a community treasure will experience a rebirth. Chateau Theatre, a Rochester institution, will re-open so residents and visitors to Rochester can experience new entertainment offerings in the Heart of the City. The Destination Medical Center Corporate (DMCC) Board and the Rochester City Council committed $1.1 million for this renovation.

This growth is energizing, bringing new living choices, hospitality and increased opportunities for startup businesses, and it’s just the beginning. With the increased density from new housing options in downtown Rochester, DMC will be collaborating with community partners to develop a retail, dining and entertainment strategy to ensure a robust and vibrant downtown for all to enjoy.

DMC is committed to a long-term transportation solution for downtown. This year, the DMCC Board and the Rochester City Council will move forward with selecting mobility hub locations and a circulator route to ensure fast, convenient and reliable transportation to and through downtown and assist in parking availability for residents, employees, students, patients and visitors in the future.

This is exciting, and we are less than five years into the implementation of the DMC development plan.  We have learned a lot and look forward to what the next five years will bring.

We appreciate the support of the community and the many partners who have contributed time and talent in support of DMC’s vision. Thank you.

Lisa Clarke, DMC EDA Executive Director

 

Downtown Rochester Experience: Profile on Pasquale Presa

After celebrating two years in business, Pasquale’s has embodied the neighborhood pizzeria feel in downtown Rochester, ranking as the number one best restaurant on TripAdvisor and the number one best pizza on TripAdvisor and Yelp.

As a food entrepreneur located in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square subdistrict, restaurant owner Pasquale Presa aims to maintain a position at the forefront of the local culture.

Presa was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and came to Rochester in 2011. Community has always been of high value to him. The number one aim of his New York-style pizzeria is to provide great service and delivering a quality product. But the experience people have in the restaurant, that feeling of home is of equal importance to Presa.

“We have a tradition. We exemplify how we were brought up and how we are a part of family and part of a community,” says Presa. “To me, it’s very important to be so involved, to embrace change and step out of our comfort zone.”

With new developments, including a mix of luxury apartment homes, commercial space, and direct access to recreational trails, Pasquale’s exemplifies the “live, work, and play” environment of Discovery Square.

Presa said he’s honored and thankful to be located in Discovery Square. He continues to do his part to stay educated and involved in DMC developments.  He and his investment partners hope to grow with the neighborhood. His restaurant is across the street from the new apartments Urban on First, expected to open this summer, and one block south from the One Discovery Square Life Science Center, with a planned spring opening.

“This is a good place to be,” adds Presa.

City of Rochester Opens RFP for First-of-Its-Kind Mixed Income Housing

The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency are inviting developers to submit proposals for a potential affordable or mixed-income housing development to be constructed in the air rights above a new city parking ramp.  This development project is the first of its kind for the City of Rochester.

The City is seeking an affordable or mixed-income housing development that provides for 50 percent or more of the units to be at rents affordable to persons at 60 percent of the area median income.

“The City of Rochester is especially proud of this parking ramp project given the opportunity to work with the development community to create more affordable housing in the downtown, says Terry Spaeth, Rochester Assistant City Administrator.  “We look forward to the creative ways in which a developer may approach this project.  We know that providing affordable housing is vitally important to the City’s success.”

A successful development project will promote the ideals of smart growth to create the following:

  • Provide affordable housing opportunities for persons at 60 percent area median income desiring to live close to employment, shopping, entertainment, without the necessity of relying on an automobile

  • Encourage the most efficient use of the downtown location

  • Establish a quality of sustainable design that will set a standard for future development in the area and integrates well with the current facility

  • Create a project that contributes to the goal of a walkable downtown

  • Implement innovative solutions/alternatives to address and reduce parking demand

“Workforce housing is a critical component of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) strategy as we continue to create a viable urban core for Rochester,” adds Lisa Clarke, executive director, Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency. “This parking ramp is a DMC-funded ramp and the potential to develop a mixed-use project is an excellent opportunity to meet multiple needs – parking and housing – in downtown Rochester.”

The deadline to submit proposals is June 14, 2019.

RFPs sought for operation and management of Rochester’s Historic Chateau Theatre

An iconic downtown landmark is promised new life as the City of Rochester announces call for requests for proposals (RFP) for the operation and management of the historic Chateau Theatre.

The Chateau Theatre is located in the Peace Plaza in Heart of the City which sees nearly 1.4 million visitors a year and within walking distance of over 2,200 hotel rooms.

“The Chateau Theatre is a community treasure and has always been at the core of our DMC Heart of the City planning,” says Lisa Clarke, executive director, DMC Economic Development Agency.