Mayo Clinic is pulling up its stakes at the Mall of America and closing its “Healthy Living” outpost at the end of the month.
The move, announced Friday, puts a cap on an 18-month experiment to promote the Rochester institution’s medical brand at the mall, one of the nation’s premier retail destinations.
In December, the hospital system said it would not be part of the Mall of America’s expansion plans, after toying for years with the idea of establishing a health and wellness clinic there.
“Mayo Clinic learned a great deal about delivering health and wellness offerings in the retail setting and is applying what it learned to other initiatives that are under development, including our Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center expansion in Rochester,” Mayo spokesman Bryan Anderson said in a statement.
Mayo continues to evaluate its “long-term presence” at the Bloomington mall, Anderson said.
When Mayo opened the small retail outpost in August 2011, it was considered the precursor to a larger potential investment in the Mall of America’s Phase II expansion. Mayo, while a dominant force in southeastern Minnesota, did not have a presence in the Twin Cities area.
Executives stood alongside then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty in June 2009 to announce a deal that gave Mayo first choice of space in the mall’s future expansion plans. Mayo officials planned to spend a year deciding the nature of the facility and size of their investment, but never revealed details.
Early plans called for a space ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 square feet, with 10 percent dedicated to retail to spread the Mayo brand.
The “Healthy Living” store served as a way for Mayo to get consumer feedback at a mall that draws more than 40 million shoppers a year from around the world.The store sold such items as Mayo-branded clothing, wellness video games and heart monitors. At one point it also offered consultations about Mayo’s organ transplants and wellness screenings.
Mayo officials said in December that the decision to put the brake on plans in the mall’s expansion was not related to decisions to put capital resources elsewhere.
Meantime, Mayo announced in late January that it plans to spend $3 billion over the next 10 years to expand Mayo’s medical facilities. Mayo leaders have also asked Minnesota lawmakers to commit $585 million in public financing to help redevelop Rochester with improved infrastructure. A bill proposing a financing plan has just started to move through the Legislature.