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Riverfront Re-Imagined Project

The City of Rochester has released a Statement of Interest (SOI) for the Riverfront Re-imagined project and is seeking submissions by January 30, 2020. An innovative development partner is being sought to revitalize and transform one of Rochester’s best remaining land assets. The 2.5-acre parcel is on the riverfront in the heart of the downtown and the Destination Medical Center (DMC) distric

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Project Information

About the project

Project Phase (Pre-concept, Concept, Plan, Develop, Available, Archive)

Concept Phase


PlanScape Impacts :

Level 1: Housing, Recreation & Open Space

Level 2: Waterfront

DMC Impacts:


Community Health Impacts:


Contact: Josh Johnson ; Email: TBD ; Phone: TBD

Lead Organization: City of Rochester

Known/Likely Collaborators: City of Rochester, MN ; DMC EDA

Potential Collaborators:

Related Projects

Bloom Rochester River Front Project ; Education, Health and Recreation Space (DMC UMR/Rec sub-district) ; Rochester Public Library Expansion



Detailed Description



Post Bulletin Abstracts 2019-10-07


The next steps following a failed proposal to build a pair of towers along the Zumbro River could be taken Monday.

The Rochester City Council is expected to start the process of asking developers and others for potential uses and partnerships for 2.5 acres of city-owned land that sits along the west side of the Zumbro River opposite the city-county Government Center, between Second and Fourth streets.

The bulk of the land was slated to be developed by Bloom International Realty until the company backed out of approved plans late last year.

“At that time, we took it as an opportunity to maybe utilize that space for what the community and city deem as priorities,” said Josh Johnsen, the city’s project manager for the Riverfront Re-Imagined effort.

Bloom had held City Council-approved exclusive negotiating rights for most of the property since 2015.

The city plans to start actively soliciting submissions detailing concepts, partnerships and development options for the site Tuesday, if the City Council supports the plan during its 3:30 p.m. work session Monday.

Ideas will be gathered through Jan. 30, with plans to use the information to develop a proposal early next year. A final plan for the project could be in place by the end of 2020.

Where the Bloom project called for a mix of senior housing, hotel rooms and condos, amid parking and retail space, Johnson and Assistant City Administrator Aaron Parrish recently told the Rochester Public Library Board that nothing is ruled out at this point.

That could mean relocating the library, which has been a target for potential expansion in recent years.

In the city’s document seeking development concepts, the library is seen as a potential asset for a future business partner, noting approximately 500,000 community members and visitors visit the site, and its bookmobile, each year.

It also notes the current site could become part of a bigger package.

“The City Council and Library Board would consider leveraging the existing library site to facilitate a (public-private partnership) development framework, or using the site as equity for potential integration within the Riverfront Re-Imagined development,” it states.

Johnsen estimates the land currently occupied by the library would be valued at approximately $4.4 million.

“It’s just another asset we could potentially bring to the table,” he said.

Other benefits developers could potentially tap into by working with the city as partners for developing the riverfront site include eligibility for tax-increment financing and cost sharing with the city or other entities.

The city also indicates potential partnerships with University of Minnesota Rochester and the Rochester YMCA could be part of a plan.

While the city is outlining its potential priorities for developers, Johnsen said a key part of the process calls for giving developers enough room to produce creative proposals without needing to pander to specific city requests.

“We want to actually get their feedback on how they see the development,” he said, noting the goal is to develop a project that meets public needs of the city, as well as private interests of a potential developer.

Parrish said a potential development agreement could unfold in various ways, which might include selling a portion or all of the city land.

“We’re open to all different options for partnership,” he said.





Project Status/News


Related PlanScape Status

Housing, Recreation & Open Space  

May 28, 2020: DMC EDA Covid Recovery Actions

COVID-19 Recovery Actions: (1) Presentation to DMCC board (2) Webinar COVID business restart discussion series

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April 01, 2020: PSAs: Supporting Local Businesses & Park restrictions ( In English and Khmer)

Supporting Local Businesses: Options for deferment of liquor license renewal payments, Municipal parking ramp, Emergency Economic Development Loan, & On‐street parking

Park usage restrictions

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March 31, 2020: Video production partnership between RNeighbors, the Rochester Neighborhood Resource Center and Mayor Norton’s office.

 A video production partnership between RNeighbors, the Rochester Neighborhood Resource Center and Mayor Norton’s office.

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March 15, 2020: Second Case Warning

Today, Olmsted County Public Health was notified of a second case of COVID-19 in an Olmsted County resident. This individual has a known history of travel to a high-risk area and did not require hospitalization. The individual is isolating at home and recovering. 

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February 04, 2020: 2016-2020 Housing Framework Status

2020-02-04 PB Reporting: Process improvement needed. 


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January 24, 2020: America’s Community for Health Meeting News

 Meeting material from Jan. meeting:

Macro and micro expected outcomes of the project. 

First pass at co-designer listConvening Co-designers

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January 15, 2020: AARP Age Friendly Community

Olmsted County joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.


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December 08, 2019: Isaiah News

2019 Rochester ISAIAH Community Meetings and news. 

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November 27, 2019: Community Networking Group (CNG) Relaunch Conversations

CNG Steering Committee collaborating with Mayor Kim Norton to launch CNG 2.0. 


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November 23, 2019: Minnesota Housing awards funding for two affordable housing projects in Rochester

The two local projects selected are Century Heights, a 76-unit project from Rochester-based Joseph Development, and Mayowood Apartments, a 30-unit development from Center City Housing Corporation.

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September 27, 2019: 2019 DMCC Affordable Housing Work Plan Status

2019 Presentations : September DMCC, meeting, May DMCC meeting and Feb DMCC meeting.

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September 22, 2019: Heart of the City Taskforce Art + Design

The Heart of the City design team is pleased to invite you to join a panel discussion and conversation on the roles art and design play in creating vibrant public spaces.

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August 18, 2019: 2019 Housing Status

Housing coalition has invested $3 million in 16 months.

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Last modified by support on 2019/11/18
Created by support on 2019/10/05




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.
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