Type: Medical, academic

Size: 330,000 square feet

Cost: $160.5 million

General contractor: McGough Construction

Architects: Cannon Design, Studio 5

Details: A ceremonial groundbreaking late last month marked the kickoff of construction on the University of Minnesota's new, $160.5 million Ambulatory Care Center, shortly after the Board of Regents approved its lease agreements and other legalities at its Dec. 12 meeting.

The project, a joint venture between the U, the University of Minnesota Physicians and Fairview Health Services, is being touted as a state-of-the-art melding of patient care and academic research through innovative design features.

Design work on the facility, on a block of university-owned land close to the Huron Boulevard exit on the north side of Interstate 94, began in 2012. It will house a surgery center and many specialty clinics, replacing a patchwork of overcrowded and outdated campus facilities anchored by the Phillips Wangensteen Building.

The Regents approved two 30-year leases with UMPhysicians and Fairview, guarantees for payment of $150 million in special-purpose bonds to be issued by the U, and a master agreement setting up the overall framework for facility's management and operations.

A separate parking agreement includes the designation of 400 spaces in the Oak Street parking ramp for patients and visitors as well as 100 spaces in an adjoining new ramp to be constructed.

The new facility is scheduled to open in January 2016.

Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be reached at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.