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Will documentary draw more businesses to Discovery Square?

September 28, 2018

As several unnamed tenants make moves to claim spaces in One Discovery Square, the head of the building’s recruitment efforts said Tuesday’s debut of “The Mayo Clinic: Faith-Hope-Science” could boost interest.

“The Ken Burns documentary that premiers tonight will do more for our marketing than frankly we could have done ourselves,” Jeremy Jacobs, Mortenson’s director of real estate development, told the Destination Medical Center Corp. board Tuesday morning.

At the same time, Jacobs announced a third commitment to space in the four-story, 89,000-square-foot complex being built at the corner of Fourth Street Southwest and Second Avenue Southwest.

He said Epic Systems Corp. plans to lease space on the northern side of the building’s first floor, which will also include University of Minnesota Rochester space on the southern section.

Epic recently created a computer platform for Mayo Clinic in a project with an estimated $1.5 billion cost. Jacob said the company offers an innovative spark for the building, which could attract other occupants.

Jacobs said his team has been to Germany, San Diego and Boston to recruit potential occupants for the building, which will include 50 percent lab space and 50 percent office space for biomedical research and technical innovation when it opens in April.

“The thing that ties it all together is the fusion of science and hope,” he said, linking the One Discovery Square project to Ken Burns’ depiction of Mayo Clinic’s history.

Mayo Clinic is expected to occupy 30,000 square feet spread over the upper levels of the building, which Jacobs said helps grab the attention of potential occupants.

Based on floor diagrams offered Tuesday, much of the building is being considered “spoken for.”

“Fortunately, we have a lot of people who are very interested in space here,” Jacobs said. “Unfortunately, we’re not yet at the point where we can use most of their names.”

The presentation indicated eight of nine available spaces, including a first-floor public cafe, are spoken for without details being released.

Jacobs said the next big announcement could come within 60 days with the naming of a dominant second-floor tenant.

“This one, maybe more than some of the others, is going to be transformative,” he said of a company that could take over a large chunk of the second floor.

Two other companies making plans for the second floor could also be revealed in approximately 90 days, he said.

He also hinted that proposed third-floor occupants could highlight the diversity being sought in the building. “One company you’ll certainly have never heard of, and the other you most certainly will have,” he told the DMCC board.

Additionally, he noted many of the companies eyed for the building are planning to either make Rochester their first Minnesota location or one of their first locations in the state.

DMCC Board Chairman R.T. Rybak said that was good to hear as a way to show DMC’s economic potential is drawing new business to Rochester.

“I don’t need to necessarily know who at this point, but it’s nice to hear it’s happening,” he said.

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