Project Update: Life Science and Innovation Building at Discovery Square

Sep 05, 2017

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An artist’s rendering depicts the fully developed Life Science and Innovation Building. Image credit: RSP Architects

As the home of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, has long been recognized for world-class healthcare. Now, with Destination Medical Center moving ahead at full steam, the City is poised to become a top global destination for health and wellness—and so much more.

Destination Medical Center (DMC) is a unique, $5.6 billion economic development initiative for the next 20 years. It’s the largest of its kind in Minnesota history. In addition to the growth of Mayo Clinic, it includes provisions for public infrastructure and other projects—centered around six development sub-districts—to support the DMC vision.

Discovery Square is one of the first sub-districts slated for development. Designed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, Discovery Square will cover 16 city blocks and act as the DMC’s “center of healthcare innovation.” When fully developed, it will provide spaces where practitioners and educators can work alongside researchers and entrepreneurs—a true model of innovation and collaboration.

The first phase of Discovery Square is the development of a multi-tenant Life Science and Innovation Building, which will be an important hub within the larger district. Mortenson chose AET as its geotechnical consultant in late 2016 to evaluate two city blocks, which are both surface parking lots utilized by Mayo Clinic. Using the findings from our preliminary subsurface explorations, Mortenson selected the block that would be most conducive to the development of the 89,000 square-foot, four level building.

Since then, we’ve continued to serve as the project’s geotechnical and environmental partner to further investigate the block. In April 2017, we partnered with 3D Geophysics to perform an electromagnetic survey to evaluate for the presence of man-made objects such as old foundations, slabs, utilities, etc. We also retained local earthwork contractor Fraser Construction to excavate test pits at areas where the geophysical survey indicated metallic structures.

It’s beyond exciting to be a part of this flagship project. We are looking forward to seeing the first phase Life Science and Innovation Building—and all of Discovery Square—become reality. With the Mortenson-led design team of RSP Architects, HOK, Meyer Borgman Johnson, Coen Partners, Michaud Cooley Erickson, and Kimley-Horn, the city’s vision is sure to be a historic success  

Kyle Shubert, PE, is a branch manager and senior engineer at AET. He can be reached at kshubert(at)amengtest.com.

Learn about our Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering and Materials Testing services.



Category: Project Highlight

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