You are here: Home / Community Assets Search / University of Minnesota, Rochester Master Plan

University of Minnesota, Rochester Master Plan

PlanScape Impact(s): Economic Development ; Education ; Recreation & Open Space
Last modified: October 01, 2017 Public Report From University of Minnesota, Rochester Master Plan


PB Article

The University of Minnesota Rochester is taking another step toward its future goal of building a 10-acre college campus at the edge of downtown.

Rochester's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1215 has signed a purchase agreement with UMR for its building at 16 Sixth St. SW. The VFW post stands within the proposed campus area bordered by South Broadway, Sixth Street Southwest and First Avenue Southwest as well as Soldiers Field Park.

Chad Stowers, senior vice commander at the VFW, said there has been a good "back and forth" discussion between the post and the university.

UMR Chief of Staff Jay Hesley said the final deal has not been worked out yet. However, UMR will go to the Rochester City Council on Monday to request local-option sales tax money "not to exceed" $3.1 million.

The funding will cover the purchase of the property, demolition of the buildings, environmental testing and other expenses related to procuring the property," according to the request on the city council agenda.

This is same process that UMR used when acquiring and demolishing other buildings within the proposed campus. The university pays directly for the property or demolition and then it is reimbursed with the sales tax money by the city.

When Rochester residents voted in 2012 to extend the city's half-cent sales tax to raise $139.5 million for 10 projects, it included $14 million for the UMR campus. To date, UMR has tapped more than $4 million of that $14 million.

Assuming the city council approves the use of the sales tax money, the purchase will go to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents for approval later in October, according to Hesley.

The deal will move the university a bit closer to its goal of building a campus. However, it still may be years before any UMR buildings are constructed on he site.

Since 2010, the university has been slowly acquiring and clearing properties in the area including two former fast food restaurants, the 4th Street Boxing Gym, the former KTTC-TV station building, small office buildings and a halal grocery store.

Hesley said UMR is not pressing property owners, but just watching for good opportunities to acquire them that works for both sides.

After the VFW site is locked down, the university still has several properties to acquire, including Scharf Auto Supply at 620 First Ave. S.W., the former Hentges Glass Co., the Running Room store and the Point of View condominiums at 728 First Ave. SW.

While the acquiring the pieces of land needed for the proposed campus, UMR will continue to occupy the top two floors of the University Square mall and several floors in the 318 Commons public-private complex. UMR also recently announced their intentions to build classrooms and labs in Destination Medical Center's first building in the Discovery Square sub-district. Mortenson, the developers of the complex to be anchored by Mayo Clinic as a tenant, intends to break ground on that downtown project yet this fall.

Unlike nearly all universities, the properties that UMR occupies are leased, not owned. That includes the top two floors of the Shops at University Square in downtown Rochester, most of 318 Commons in southwest Rochester and the top floor of the former Paine Furniture building.

UMR's master campus plan for downtown Rochester will allow the university to at least own and build some of its buildings, most likely with the help of public-private partnerships with local developers.



PlanScape Impact(s): Economic Development ; Education ; Recreation & Open Space
Last modified: October 01, 2017 Public Report From University of Minnesota, Rochester Master Plan

Site Information
  • For the commercial sector, we tend to register startup activities (new companies and new commercial projects) that bring diversification and high-impact opportunities to the area.
  • For the non-profit sector, we wish to shine light on all the organizations and services that otherwise labor under relative obscurity.
  • Our hope is that will encourage cross-sector collaborations and creative solutions.

While there are a number of registries in the community,'s  distinct value is to pilot a database with a data structure and categorizations that answer the questions such as: What organizations or projects/programs in our community that have purported relevance with some of the over-arching focuses put forward by initiatives such as DMC, J2G and Health Improvements?

This database could be used as one of the ways to explore the capacities of the community. If you are someone on an exploratory journey to learn about the greater Rochester community. could be an interesting first step.

The following defines the various project phases:
  1. Available - a product, program or service is in production
  2. Develop - program or application is being developed
  3. Plan - idea is solid, stakeholders are identified, and there is strong commitment to go forward from all parties.
  4. Concept Phase - idea scoped out with enough details to give an early sizing and/or to build a proof of concept
  5. Pre-concept Phase - an early idea or a requirement.
Links to Beam and beam sub-sites: