A global destination for health care and wellness. This is the vision of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative — a vision that is now one step closer to becoming reality with the completion of the comprehensive draft development plan on Dec. 17.

While some may assume DMC is only about Rochester and the Mayo Clinic, this initiative in fact will generate substantial statewide benefits and help secure Minnesota’s status as a leading center in the health and medical sectors for future generations. DMC represents the largest economic development opportunity in Minnesota and is unique in the country.

Over the 20-year implementation timeline, DMC will create approximately 40,000 new jobs and generate more than $3.5 billion in new tax revenue. DMC is a unique public-private partnership. The private investment by the Mayo Clinic and others is projected at more than $5 billion. No public dollars will go to Mayo Clinic buildings or facilities. The public investment by the state, Olmsted County and the city of Rochester will go to building public infrastructure.

Arriving at this point was no small feat. Citizens, city and county staff, planners, financing and development efforts, elected leaders, and leaders from the Mayo Clinic, as well as our board, have devoted thousands of hours of work and discussion to this project. The result is a bold vision for how downtown Rochester can build on its own great strengths to become a global business center for research and business growth focused on health care and wellness.

Minnesota already has a significant economic base in the health sector, from world-quality clinical systems and health insurance to globally admired companies in medical devices and other health-related endeavors. In addition, we have top-notch medical research through the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. With the development plan, the DMC initiative lays out a strategy to build on this already-solid base and elevate Minnesota as a global medical destination.

This strategy won’t just boost our economy. It also promises to improve our own health and wellness, as we benefit from the research and innovation emerging from the DMC.

We are already seeing significant investor activity in Rochester in anticipation of the DMC plan. Unlike a lot of economic development initiatives that struggle to materialize, our strategy is market-driven, and the market is already responding. Real estate is being bought and sold, developers are coming forward with private-sector projects and the Mayo Clinic is making decisions about capital investments in Rochester.

The interest is exciting, but we need to remember that this plan won’t be implemented overnight. DMC’s draft development plan outlines the 20-year strategy for growth. With the draft development plan, we have achieved a significant milestone. We look forward to the next phase of public comment and approval as we continue our work to make Minnesota the world’s premiere global destination for health and wellness.


Tina Smith is Lt. Gov.-elect of Minnesota and chair of the Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) board. Ardell F. Brede is mayor of Rochester and a member of the DMCC Board.