Destination Medical Center (DMC) is prototyping a kinder future for construction; one that considers patients, pedestrians, and business owners first. It’s called Business Forward.
“Every business owner will say that anytime they’ve had construction in front of their businesses, they’ve never felt like they’ve been a part of the plan,” says Jamie Rothe, Director of Community Engagement and Experience for DMC Economic Development Agency. “With this type of project, we felt like we needed to build it together. And that’s what we need to do; share information, get information back, then modify and adjust.”
Prototyping is a way to inform designs before they’re final. Over the years, you’ve seen DMC, the City of Rochester, and the Rochester Downtown Alliance prototype in multiple ways. From the Placemakers Prototyping Festivalto the recent Community Couch and Flexible Fountain installation, each step has informed the next. Prototyping allows design teams the ability to react quickly to community feedback and to efficiently make modifications, with the end goal of creating a better design.
This summer, DMC has been prototyping public benches – incorporating universal design – in and around the east side of Peace Plaza. The first installation of the bench prototypes was placed on Peace Plaza next to Primp. The Heart of the City design team sought initial reactions to the overall idea of the benches, their look and feel, and to learn how people use them.
The community used the benches in a variety of ways, standing and sitting while eating meals, using the lean bench for working, and having conversations. Strong feedback was received on the industrial look of the benches. Some people wanted a softer, more approachable feel for public seating.
After a busy few weeks of modifying the Heart of the City bench prototypes, they will now be placed back onto Peace Plaza for phase 2 prototyping. The second prototype incorporates many of the suggestions provided by the community, including:
Adding wood to the seat and table/counter surfaces to provide a softer material to the touch
Adding color to the end panels to add visual interest and a more playful feel
Sanding the metal to smooth the edges of the joints and perforations
You can find the prototype benches on First Avenue in front of Primp. During the first prototype phase, the benches were set up in a way that encouraged conversation. During this second phase, you will notice that the benches are arranged differently – one faces the street, and the other faces the shops and the sidewalk.
The design team invites you to stop by and check out the benches. A Heart of the City goal is to create seating that helps you get the most out of your public space and help make Peace Plaza a place where all will want to gather – community, visitors and patients.
The design team would like to know what you think about the arrangement. When do you use them and why? How do you observe others using them? What are your thoughts on the new surfaces?
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.”
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. GianricoFarrugia, 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.
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.
Prototyping is not a new concept for designers. They regularly create early representations of an idea with intentions of testing a theory or response, then adapting the design into a bigger and better version of the original.
The same can be said when introducing prototyping into the public realm.
Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) recently invited local innovators to help activate the Peace Plaza in Heart of the City by installing their own prototypes in the space.
The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors applauded the significant accomplishments in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) district in 2018 at its final board meeting of the year on November 13. These accomplishments include eight approved private projects at various stages of development with several to complete construction and renovations and open in 2019, including the Hilton Hotel, One Discovery Square, Hotel Indigo, and Urban on First.
The DMCC Board reaffirmed its commitment to Heart of the City and support of $1.1 million in renovations to the historic Chateau Theatre, with construction to begin this December. A summer 2019 re-opening of the theatre is projected.
Destination Medical Center (DMC) and the Heart of the City design team collaborated with local prototypers to test out design concepts for Heart of the City Phase 1 and create an engaging public realm. The design team includes Minneapolis-based landscape architects Coen+Partners in collaboration with RSP Architects, El Dorado, Latent Design, Kimley-Horn Associates, and Fluidity.
The prototypers were selected based on work presented at the 2016 Rochester Prototyping Festival. The design team felt these prototypes resonated with Heart of the City public realm work and invited the prototypers to test out a 2.0 version of their original concepts. The installations will be on display in Peace Plaza through mid-November.
The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors has approved public infrastructure funding of four new downtown Rochester development projects.
The DMC funding of $11.82 million supports $342 million in new investment, that includes waterfront development, Heart of the City redevelopment, and new hotel concepts. The projects will result in the creation of more than 450 new, permanent jobs and nearly 600 construction jobs.