The success of Minneapolis in creating a new vibrancy in its downtown urban core didn’t happen because of one or two development projects – or because of a single event like hosting the Super Bowl. Rather, it was the result of many diverse and civic-minded players working to stitch together a puzzle of very different ideas and interests to create a shared vision of renewal.
That was a key takeaway from the third annual “best practices” tour of Minneapolis’s city center on August 30 by a cross-section of Rochester civic and business leaders.
As in previous years, the 2018 tour was organized by the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) and curated by University of Minnesota urban design researcher Tim Griffin.
With all the activity taking place in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) District, the recent DMC Corporation Board of Directors meeting agenda was a full one and included updates on DMC’s top development priorities, such as Discovery Square and Heart of the City.
At the end of 2016, private investment in the DMC district surpassed $200 million, the threshold required to trigger the release of State dollars to support Rochester’s infrastructure needs. It was reported at the meeting that the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) certified the report and has authorized the release of $2.6 million of the state money for local infrastructure improvements by September.
“This is the reason we’ve been doing this for the past several years,” says DMCC board vice-chair R.T. Rybak. “I encourage the staff to take time to celebrate this achievement.”
Discovery Square Developments
One of six DMC sub-districts, Discovery Square will be a live-work environment organized around attracting and retaining the best and brightest to our community. While there is progress taking place in all of six sub-districts, Discovery Square is a board-identified priority for DMC, as are Heart of the City and transportation.
A happy, healthy city that’s walkable, has plenty of parks, and offers ample public transportation. Sounds like a great place to live, doesn’t it?
Future City is a project-based learning program for middle school students where they can explore, imagine, create, and ultimately build a city of the future. Together, the students design the city, research and write its description, build the physical model, develop a project plan, and introduce the city to the judges during a seven-minute presentation.
RSP Architects, the Minneapolis-based firm charged with championing public realm design for DMC’s Heart of the City sub-district, received accolades from the DMC Corporation board of directors on February 8 when they presented findings from the first of four phases of the design process. The RSP-led design team includes Coen+Partners, 9.Square, HR&A Advisors, and Kimley-Horn.
The Discover Report was the result of 17 days of interviews, surveys, and pop-ups conducted by the Heart of the City public space design team and the culmination of their first phase of design work. During this process, the design team met with hundreds of people – visitors, patients, and community members alike – recognizing that they must understand the community well because “solutions for Heart of the City need to be authentic to Rochester.”