Plans emerge for a third Discovery Square building; A Greek restaurant planned for Peace Plaza


The developer behind the first two buildings at the Discovery Square complex has entered into discussions with Destination Medical Center EDA about the potential construction of a third building in downtown Rochester.

DMC officials said Monday that Mortensen submitted an application to the EDA for a seven-story, 156,000 square foot facility to be built at the northeast corner of Third Avenue SW and Fifth Street SW. The proposed location is just south of the two existing buildings in Discovery Square.

Catherine Malmberg, director of public infrastructure and development strategy at the EDA, told the DMCC board that the building would include lab space and biofabrication capabilities — potentially becoming the first building in Minnesota to respond. cGMP Guidelines set by the FDA.

Mortensen estimates that developing a Three Discovery Square would cost $72.8 million. The company requested $12.7 million in DMC funds, or about 17.5% of the project cost. The presentation highlighted the development’s potential to create 330 permanent jobs.

At Wednesday’s meeting, DMCC board members welcomed the possibility of an addition to the Discovery Square sub-district. However, they asked the EDA to carefully assess the public investment in the project.

“I am struck by the almost identical contribution offered between DMC and equity funds,” said new DMCC Board Chair Pamela Wheelock. “And I think it would be very important to understand what is causing the market gap; and if we are going to invest at this level, is there a creative way to structure our financing? »

Patrick Seeb, executive director of the EDA, said DMC had structured rollback provisions in financial assistance agreements with Mortensen. These agreements, he said, would allow DMC to adjust its financial support if the building exceeds the company’s forecast.

DMCC board member RT Rybak pushed the EDA to perhaps go further – making DMC a bigger partner in the project. By sharing some of the risk, he said, DMC should also share the success; in the case of DMC, this would mean preserving part of the building as a public facility.

“I want us to be very motivated to help with this, but I want us to be seen as a partner representing the community,” Rybak said.

Council Chair Brooke Carlson, also a DMCC board member, expressed some skepticism about plans for a third building, noting that the second Discovery Square building – which is nearing completion – n haven’t secured any tenants yet.

Despite this, Chris Schad, director of business development for DMC, told the board that there were active conversations with many companies about leasing parts of the Two Discovery Square building.

He noted that the pandemic has caused changes in the types of activities that will likely be housed in the five-story building.

“Two Discovery Square’s intended use was initially more digital health-based, and Covid kind of changed that math a bit,” Schad said. “And so the building was actually repositioned during construction to be more of a wet lab-centric operation.”

Biotech company raises another $30 million

Vyriada Rochester-based biotechnology company, has secured $29.5 million in new funding in its efforts to expand the use of its novel oncolytic viral therapies for the treatment of cancers.

The investment from Harry Stine of Stine Seed Farms, LLC brings the total amount Vyriad has raised since 2015 to over $100 million. Other notable investors include Mayo Clinic, Mirae Asset, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund.

Vyriad, which was founded by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Miami, operates from a 25,000 square facility in the Rochester Technology Campus (formerly IBM’s campus).

In a statement, co-founder Dr. Stephen Russell said: “Vyriad aspires to become a powerhouse for the partnership generation and commercialization of high-performing, safety-engineered oncolytic viruses that, used alone or in combination with established therapies, can eliminate cancer without significant loss. – targeted effects or undesirable toxicities.

A new Greek restaurant on Peace Plaza?

Signs are up in Peace Plaza for a new Greek restaurant.

Opa!, the largest Mediterranean franchise in Canada, appears to be taking over the former Mac’s space, 20 First Street SW. The concept menu includes a variety of platters, salads and wraps.

(The new Opa! is not to be confused with Opa! Opa!!, an independent Greek restaurant on 15th Avenue in southeast Rochester.)

Additional details were not available at the time of publication.

Canadian restaurateur Johnson Osei, which leases the space, did not respond to our request for comment on plans for Opa! His latest space venture, Jerk King, has an active lawsuit against the city and DMC over construction impacts related to the Heart of the City project.

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.


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