Mayo puts brakes on its new project at megamall

The health system had planned to have space in the Mall of America's Phase II expansion.

Mayo Clinic said Wednesday it will not be part of the Mall of America's expansion scheduled to open next fall.

Spokesman Bryan Anderson said the Rochester-based hospital system "is evaluating new ways to evolve our long-term presence" at the Bloomington megamall. Mayo will discuss its long-term plans at the Mall of America sometime in the first couple of weeks of the year, he said.

The expansion on the mall's north side was supposed to include a Mayo wellness outpost, a hotel, more shops and restaurants and parking. The mall's owner, Triple Five Group, has said the expansion would cost $220 million to $225 million.

But on Wednesday, Anderson said Mayo's board of directors is "evaluating all capital projects and this was among the group that was evaluated and decided we wouldn't be part of that next phase."

The economic downturn, implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, an aging population and rising costs of care were among the factors driving the decision to slow capital growth plans and to assess hiring, Anderson said.

Mayo has been expanding its brand into the Twin Cities and nationwide, During the past year, it has formed alliances with a number of hospital systems around the country through its Mayo Clinic Network and purchased a clinic in Red Wing from Fairview.

Opened at mall in 2011

Mayo opened an outpost at the Mall of America in August 2011, called "Healthy Living." The site offers consultation about Mayo's organ transplants as well as massages and wellness screenings. The store also sells Mayo clothing, wellness video games and heart monitors.

Mall of America spokesman Dan Jasper said in a statement that Mayo continues to explore "new ways and opportunities to evolve their long-term presence" at the mall. This, he noted, could mean future expansions.

The expansion plans of the mall include another hotel, following the opening of the $137 million Radisson Blu 500-room hotel on the mall's south side early next year, as well as "wonderful retail, many new to the market," a new food court akin to a "food terrace or food emporium," an expanded event space, a 10,000-square-foot exhibit center and parking.

Mayo executives held a news conference in June 2009 attended by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty and mall officials after signing a letter of intent that gave Mayo first choice of a space in the mall's Phase II expansion. Mayo officials said they planned to spend a year deciding the nature of the facility and size of their investment, though details weren't forthcoming.

Mayo envisioned the site at the mall, which draws more than 40 million shoppers a year from around the world, as a "gateway to services" and a "platform for innovation."

Early plans called for a space ranging from 10,000 to more than 100,000 square feet, with 10 percent dedicated to retail space to spread its Mayo brand.

Janet Moore • jmmoore@startribune.com Jackie Crosby • jcrosby@startribune.com

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