Mortenson to Create Ecosystem of "Orchestrated Serendipity" in First New Discovery Square Building


Tuesday night, Historic Southwest Neighborhood Association held a Community Open House with Destination Medical Center (DMC), Mayo Clinic, and developer partners to open the conversation about Phase 1 of Discovery Square. Discovery Square is one of six DMC sub-districts, containing a sixteen-block area intended to be the “center of healthcare innovation” in Rochester. The event, led by Mortenson Development, captured ideas and thoughts from the public surrounding the first new building in the district, which will be situated on 2nd Avenue SW and 4th Street SW.

The Discovery Square district is currently home to the Conley-Maass-Downs building, an entrepreneurial hub containing Bleu Duck Kitchen, Collider Coworking, BrandHoot, and Area 10 Labs. Residential complexes are additionally popping up in the district to accommodate the expected population growth, including the new 501 on 1st, Residences of Discovery Square, and Urban on First.

“What we’re really seeing is a neighborhood development that is consistent with this vision that the community had, that really dates back five to seven years ago. This idea of this discovery zone, this innovation zone. This district that would be live, work, and play,” said Patrick Seeb, Director of Economic Development and Placemaking at DMC.

About one year ago, Mayo Clinic announced their commitment to Discovery Square and dedication to externalize Mayo research to spur commercialization and development. The global organization found partners to bring this project to life with Mortenson Development and architectural collaborators RSP and HOK.

“You will understand by this presentation tonight how fortunate we are to have attracted such talent and depth and expertise to our community as we have with Mortenson and this project led by Jeremy Jacobs,” said Seeb.

This first proposed new structure in Discovery Square will be “far more than a building,” stated Jacobs, Development Executive with Mortenson.

Jacobs hopes that this 80,000 square feet of rentable space will be a true “economic engine.” The building will be a constant in the neighborhood for a long time, offering yearlong programming from the Twin Cities Musicant Group to activate the building for its tenants- a mix of scientists, educators, and students- as well as the community.

Designed transparency of the structure is meant to simultaneously invite people inside and allow interaction with the outside environment. The bottom floor will contain a café, which will be open to the public, and a bright two story atrium. A three-story stairwell traversing the building will be ringed by open, inviting spaces and conference rooms, where both building tenants and the public can connect, and most importantly, collaborate.

The building is intentionally designed to facilitate “orchestrated serendipity,”: the collaboration, collision, and fusion of people and ideas within the building.

“80,000 square feet rarely transforms anything. But it’s the collective impact of what we’re doing that’s going to set the tone and create the series of dominos,” said Jacobs.

This new structure is meant to be not just another building, but an ecosystem of Mayo Clinic and their dedicated partners, building things that have never been built before and accelerating the translation of medicine as rapidly as possible to create a real “destination for biomedical innovation,” explained Jon Buggy, Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RSP Architects.

The building contains a mix of committed and available space on all floors. The team has embarked on a global search for tenants with values in line with both the cutting-edge and collaborative culture of the structure.

Tenant recruitment has centered around the concept of “attract the attractors,” said Chris Shad, Senior Strategy Consultant with Mayo Clinic. Mayo has identified three primary research groups within the organization as strategic tenants of the building, with the hopes to attract in their collaborating partners. Inaugural Mayo tenants will include The Center for Regenerative Medicine, Advanced Diagnostics, and Biomedical Technology.

The team hopes to break ground on the site in November 2017. The building is set to open around May 2019.