Groundbreaking Accelerates Momentum In DMC's Discovery Square Sub-District


Momentum in Discovery Square, a sixteen-block sub-district of Destination Medical Center (DMC), accelerated yesterday when the Minneapolis-based developer Mortenson Company, DMC, the State of Minnesota, and local leaders broke ground on the site of the first new construction facility in the sub-district. 

Virtual reality gear from Area 10 Labs during the Discovery Square Community Celebration.

Virtual reality gear from Area 10 Labs during the Discovery Square Community Celebration.

This event launched Phase 1 of Discovery Square to create a four-story, ~90,000 square-foot building to house life science and medical innovation and attract talent from around the world to accelerate the translation of medicine and health technology.

This first new building will be located near Mayo Clinic’s downtown campus, near their Guggenheim and Stabile buildings, on the corner of 4th Street SW and 2nd Avenue SW.

David Mortenson, Chair of Mortenson Company, called the vision and strategy behind Discovery Square bold.

He asked, “Where else in the world could you stand and say, ‘We are here to revolutionize medicine, to change history, and to have an impact not just on millions, but perhaps on billions of people across the world’?” 

This first new building is designed to foster collisions and collaboration featuring an integrated, open-work space and centralized common areas.

Image from Discovery Square Community Celebration prior to the groundbreaking ceremony.

Image from Discovery Square Community Celebration prior to the groundbreaking ceremony.

Mayo Clinic is an anchor tenant in this first Mortenson building and will occupy three floors, bringing their Individualized Medicine, Regenerative Medicine, and Advanced Diagnostic programs into the space. Mortenson is continuing their tenant recruitment process for the building and is currently in talks with both high growth and early phase companies in four different countries.

“Just to get to this point is pretty incredible,” said Lisa Clarke, Executive Director of DMC Economic Development Agency. This moment, Clarke explained, is truly a milestone in the history of the Rochester community.

“The celebration today, it’s about investments and it’s about partnerships. And it’s about science, and research, and technology,” Clarke stated. “And it’s about all of us coming together and colliding and creating greatness in innovation. And we want to keep it right here in this community, and in this region, and in the state of Minnesota.”

The groundbreaking serves a catalyst to position Rochester as a global health destination, said Lt. Governor Tina Smith, that builds upon the city’s and state’s rich legacies of innovation.


“A legacy that includes the first pace maker, the first open heart surgery, not to mention snow blowers, Twister, Bisquick, and Spam,” she said. “Minnesota’s inventions have made this state and this world a better, healthier, more fun place.”

DMC developments, in total, are expected to add 30,000 new jobs in Minnesota and to establish more businesses that incorporate Mayo Clinic intellectual property.

“With the groundbreaking in Discovery Square, the Destination Medical Center continues to garner attention of investors around the country, life science companies, corporate organizations, and indeed patients from all over the world,” explained Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy. “As we make this a reality, the opportunity remains to attract even more startups to our city, to our region, and to our state.”

Events of the day did not forget the startups and entrepreneurs already innovating in the Discovery Square sub-district. All current neighborhood collaborators gathered for a community celebration and innovation showcase prior to the groundbreaking ceremony. Discovery Square tenants Limb Lab, GoRout, Area 10 Labs, and Collider Coworking participated in the showcase. Food was provided by the Discovery Square residents People’s Food Co-op and Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria. The art installation “The Vast and Empty Ballrooms of the Double Helix’s Heart” by Rochester creative Eric Anderson was also displayed to explore the fabric and culture of the Rochester community.

(Click on the photos below to below to advance through images from the Discovery Square Community Celebration.)