Rochester took a couple more steps toward recasting its downtown under the Destination Medical Center umbrella Thursday, approving the construction of a Hilton hotel and the purchase of a historic theater.
The Destination Medical Center Corporation's board of directors signed off on a 23-story downtown hotel that planners say will become a prominent part of the city's skyline.
The DMC says groundbreaking is expected within weeks for the $140 hotel project. The "Broadway at Center" development is named for the streets of its location.
The $6 million purchase of the Chateau Theater comes before any decision about how to re-use the building, which was once a vaudeville theater and was last used as a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Flint Smith, who chairs the DMC board, tells the Rochester Post Bulletin the purchase of the Chateau is meaningful because it demonstrates that "...we want to build on what makes Rochester great, not wipe the slate clean and start from scratch."
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede tells ABC 6 News the money the city is spending to purchase the Chateau and build a parking ramp and skyway connection for the new hotel will count toward the $128 million the city has committed to the Destination Medical Center initiative.
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Spearheaded by Mayo Clinic, Destination Medical Center is envisioned as a 20-year, $6 billion effort to rebuild the medical center and downtown Rochester. $585 million of state, county, and city money will be released as private investment grows and backers say the public money will help leverage billions in private spending.