Star Tribune: Rochester couple renovate historic Conley-Maass building

Visitors mingling during the event.

Drawn to Rochester for medical treatment at the Mayo Clinic, Traci Downs and her husband, Hunter, originally thought they’d be in southeast Minnesota for only six weeks.

That was a few years and a business relocation ago.

Now permanent residents, the Downses this summer plan to open one of the first buildings in the state’s largest-ever economic development project. Their renovated Conley-Maass building, a former woolen mill and factory just blocks from the Mayo Clinic, will house, among other things, a restaurant, two tech companies and a “Maker’s Lab” equipped with a 3-D printer.

It’s the kind of story — from ailing patient to robust Rochester investor — that has inspired many in local circles. It’s also a small victory for Destination Medical Center, the city’s ambitious project that calls for using billions in private investment and public tax dollars to remake downtown Rochester over the next 20 years and turn it into an international center for medicine, health care and technology.

“The whole idea of this building is kind of like a little microcosm of what the plans are for DMC,” Traci Downs said.

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