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Plan to transform downtown Rochester goes to city council

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Discovery Square
A rendering of the proposed Discovery Sqaure for downtown Rochester as part of the Destination Medical Center project.
Courtesy of Perkins Eastman

A development plan that will bring big changes to downtown Rochester in the next two decades is one step closer to final adoption. 

Officials with the Destination Medical Center project submitted the plan Thursday to city leaders for review and approval, triggering a 60-day public comment period. 

The council will hold public hearings in February and March before voting on the plan and sending it back to the DMC board for final adoption later this spring.

The project focuses on the Mayo Clinic's projected growth, which is expected to bring some 35,000 new jobs to Rochester. 

The plan offers a framework for development that will evolve over time, said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who chairs the DMC board. 

"There's a really deep understanding amongst our board that we want to build on what is great about Rochester and not sort of wipe the character of the city clean and start from scratch," she said. "There would be just no point in that."

Smith and other board members said developing the city's bio-business center, known as Discovery Square, should be one of the priorities to attract high-level jobs to the city.