At the heart of every destination city is a vibrant downtown, where signature spaces, diverse programming, and enticing events encourage residents and visitors to linger a little longer.
In downtown Rochester, the bold vision for the true Heart of the City is coming to life as designers unveil a new future for the Destination Medical Center (DMC) sub-district where residents and visitors come together to celebrate life, community, health, and wellness 365 days a year.
From Discover and Dream to Design and Do
The Heart of the City Design Team recently unveiled plans for the much-anticipated core of downtown. Their forward-thinking vision for this integral part of the DMC district was received with excitement and anticipation by the DMC Corporation Board of Directors, the Rochester City Council, and the community at-large as they learned of the new plans for the sub-district.
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.
DMC is changing the face of Rochester, and the state of Minnesota is taking notice.
The past few months have brought a new visibility to America’s City for Health as statewide publications have begun to share the story of Destination Medical Center.
In May, journalist Matt McKinney and photographer Glen Stubbe from the Star Tribune joined DMC Economic Development Agency executive director Lisa Clarke on the 189-foot Kraus-Anderson construction crane at the site of the future Titan Hilton Hotel to get a birds-eye view of the development taking place across the city of Rochester and discuss what’s to come for the burgeoning city.
Transportation is at the forefront of urban planning and growth, and Rochester leaders are exploring how to best meet the needs of all as the Destination Medical Center initiative continues to take shape.
Transportation goals for Rochester include moving 23-30% of the workforce downtown via transit by 2035, connecting downtown districts with a circulator, and creating a world-class place for regional transit arrival and departure.
As developments progress in the DMC District and throughout the city, the confidence of investors and developers in the future of Rochester is becoming more and more apparent. Over the next 20 years, DMC will continue to drive the city’s growth and position Rochester as the ideal place to grow a business, invest in a development project, or raise a family.
From Discover to Dream, the Destination Medical Center’s Heart of the City public space design team is taking their direction from you.
On March 9, the design team invited community members to take part in the second phase of the design process at a Community Workshop at the Rochester Art Center. More than 130 people attended the 2 ½ hour interactive event.
“The turnout was great,” says Adam Ferrari, owner of the Rochester-based architecture and design firm 9.SQUARE and a member of the design team. But what struck Ferrari was the engagement by the group. “With events like this, it usually goes one of two ways,” he says. “People either react negatively – or they roll up their sleeves and get to work.” This group, according to Ferrari, did the latter.
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.”
A sustainable transportation model is pivotal to the success of the DMC vision. And from practical solutions like dedicated bus lanes to more futuristic ideas like driverless shuttles, the topic brought dozens of community members together for the first of four Public Conversations highlighting transit for Rochester’s downtown.
The informal open house, held on January 24 at the University of Minnesota Rochester, provided the public with a chance to hear from transportation consultants about the four integrated transit studies being conducted and offer their feedback on what they see working best for Rochester’s future.