Mayo Clinic has officially launched its plan for Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square, an urban bioscience campus in Rochester where doctors, researchers, and scientists will come together to accelerate new advancements in medical research, technology, and patient care.
Mayo Clinic’s announcement that it is on the hunt for a strategic real estate development firm to build out Discovery Square is a major milestone for the Destination Medical Center’s (DMC) plan to enhance Rochester’s reputation as the world’s premier destination for health and wellness, and to create a robust entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem that encourages start-up companies.
A wave of new apartments opened in Rochester last year, and even more are planned this year with both suburban and downtown projects in the development pipeline.
It’s unclear whether the surge is just a normal upturn in the Rochester market’s building cycle or if it’s being spurred by the Mayo Clinic’s effort, with local and state help, for expansion. That development is called Destination Medical Center and has a goal to add 45,000 new jobs over 20 years to the city. Some apartment developers are specifically mentioning the Mayo’s expansion as a reason for investing in the market.
The city’s surge in new multifamily units — while small in numbers compared to the apartment-building binge in the Twin Cities — is impressive for sheer magnitude.
Metropolitan areas are growing faster than the country as a whole. In fact, it is estimated that 86% of Americans will live in a metro area in 2016.
With the anticipation of adding about 35,000 additional jobs in Rochester over the next 20 years as part of the DMC plan, a surge in urbanization, which is the increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, is highly likely.
There are a number of factors driving this urban growth, not the least of which is an innate desire for humans to be connected to one another. “We are social beings by nature. Even introverted people want to feel a sense of community,” says Lindsey Meek, civil engineer, neighborhood leader for the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and downtown resident.
“In 2010, Hsieh announced a $350 million investment in the city, with $200 million for real-estate investments, $50 million for tech startups, $50 million for arts, health care, and education, and $50 million for small businesses. (The source of the investment money is hazy, but much of it may come from Hsieh’s own pockets.) The plan, dubbed the Downtown Project, is designed to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, especially in Hsieh’s own field, tech. But business is really just the first step. When Hsieh’s project is complete—by the middle of the decade, he hopes—he’ll have created a seemingly paradoxical utopia: A new Silicon Valley just blocks from the Las Vegas strip.”
Like DMC and its focus on eight core areas of community vitality, the Downtown Project encompasses better health care options, more parks, restaurants, non-gaming entertainment and other attributes to make downtown attractive to workers, their families and small businesses.
Redevelopment is taking hold. Already, 60 start-ups call Las Vegas home. How many new start-ups will call Rochester home in three years? Any wagers on that?
What can be done to make it happen? Share your ideas here.
My husband I and moved to Rochester over 5 years ago from Colorado Springs. My husband’s family lives here in town and due to unfortunate job loss in Colorado, we decided to move (back) to Rochester. Before we left Colorado, I made up my mind that I would work at Mayo Clinic. Fortunately, I was hired on after two years of contracting with Mayo. It’s been the best place I’ve ever worked! Compared to my previous jobs “in the real world” the opportunities, growth, education, research and care here are unsurpassed. I am blessed to be here, but find myself wondering when I can leave because of the lack of development and untapped potential in Rochester. Luckily, there is the DMC initiative and it passed! I’m excited to see the city grow into its fullest potential and continue to draw in the worlds’ best and brightest while giving those of us who live here a reason stay.
Coming from a city of nearly 1 million people, moving here ended up being quite a change. Because of the reputation of Mayo Clinic, my expectations of Rochester were high. I figured there would be great shopping, restaurants, museums, a university, lots of activities, etc. I was sorely disappointed. While there are a few good restaurants (that aren’t expensive) and a few good shops, the rest leaves the community to be desired. It struck me as very odd that a community with so many different types of people, visitors from around the world and a world class health care facility seemed to exist in a sleepy, small town. While that may be the attraction for some, for many of us who live here and would like to stay, this presents a problem. If you don’t work at Mayo, IBM or a successful enterprenuer, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for growth. There is no major university here besides satellite campuses with a limited number of degree offerings, no museums, no zoo, small town retail, and a limited number of restaurants. Chick-Fil-A, Q’doba, Texas Roadhouse and Red Robin, where are you? Sephora, West Elm and Pottery Barn, please come to Rochester! How is the community expected to grow or advance? Why would anyone want to stay if opportunities are slim? While I love new experiences, I don’t want to always have to go to the Twin Cities to do that. I would rather spend that time and money in my community. I have several friends with great business ideas but are afraid to “venture out” because they feel Rochester doesn’t have that kind of market and sadly, they’re right.
My generation is the future. We’re young adults, young couples and young families who want the best for our future and our children. Connecting with the community is important. DMC is a shining light for prosperity, growth, jobs, stability, education, and advancement in a small town; a diamond in the rough. I’m grateful for the vision of the community leaders for a Rochester Master Plan for growth to keep this community thriving. I’m now feeling excited to be in Rochester during this time to live and contribute to its vision for growth. I plan to help with vision and direction of DMC not just because of my place of employment, but mainly because I want to see the untapped potential of this wonderful community come to fruition. Join me and many others as we go on this journey together!
What kind of potential do you see in Rochester’s future? Share your thoughts through the comment feature below.
Tia Calvert is a Media Analyst in the Creative Media Department at Mayo Clinic
The County Land Use Plan Update, the City’s Downtown Master Plan, and the Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments (ROCOG) Long-Range Transportation Plan all relied on forecasts developed by the Planning staff back in 2004. The Planning staff made the assumption that health care employment would maintain the same relative position in comparison with the rest of the nation that it has enjoyed for the past few decades. Because of the demographic changes affecting the country (with the aging of the baby boom, the demand for health care is increasing exponentially), this means that we assumed consistent strong growth in health care employment. Our total employment forecast for 2030 was 143,500 jobs.
Comparing our projections to the data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2010 shows that the recession had a significant impact for most industrial sectors in the County. Most notable was a 37% decline in manufacturing employment since 2000. Fortunately for our economy, this decline was offset by a 32% growth in health care employment, giving Olmsted County a net gain in jobs over the decade of 7%.
In other words, health care employment during the 2000’s maintained its relative edge.
Following the 2010 Census and the release of the State Demographic Center’s revised population forecasts, we have adjusted our employment forecasts. Assuming that manufacturing employment remains stable and adjusting the other sectors for the impact of the recession, our 2030 forecasted total employment without adjusting for the DMC’s internal forecasts would be 139,800 jobs. Adjusting for the DMC forecasts, and applying the local ratios of basic sector to support sector jobs, our total becomes 149,400 jobs. These are roughly consistent in total with our original forecasts, although the health sector is a larger share of the total.
Olmsted County has been through rapid employment growth before. From 1983 to 2003, we grew by 35,000 jobs. That was during a time when the baby boom was entering the labor force, however, and this will be during a time when the baby boom is retiring. This leaves growing employers with a potential labor force shortage. This shortage will have to be made up by increased commuting, transfers from other sectors of the economy, deferred or part time retirement, and increased migration. Our ability to rely on commuting will depend heavily on our ability to invest in safe and energy-efficient infrastructure.
Phil Wheeler, AICP, is the director of the Rochester Olmsted Planning Department and Executive Director of the Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments
What thoughts do you have about growth in Rochester and Olmsted County? Share your thoughts here.