Mayo Clinic tells state board more local investment is planned

May 25—ROCHESTER — Mayo Clinic sent the state's Destination Medical Center Corp. board a message committing to future local investment.

"Right now, we are determining our next steps for a multiyear strategic initiative that aims to transform health care with a focus on Rochester," said Erin Sexton, Mayo Clinic's director of enterprise community engagement.

The statement during Thursday's board meeting comes after the

health care provider threatened to pull planned construction projects out of the state

if the Minnesota Legislature passed a pair of bills targeting staffing levels and health care costs.

Sexton said legislative compromise on the two bills — the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act and the Health Care Affordability Board — is appreciated, and Mayo Clinic's objection to

earlier versions

was based on a desire to ensure the state action met "the needs of our patients, our staff and the communities we serve."

"We remain committed to looking out how we can support our nurses, support our staff, with the things that are making their jobs harder," she said, adding that the resulting legislation is expected to encourage more people to join the field of nursing to address staff shortages.

With the compromise, Sexton said Mayo Clinic is

looking at its next steps in Rochester.

"It includes envisioning new and renewed spaces to meet the needs of our patients now and in future generations," she said.

The

potential investment being discussed is reportedly the equivalent of "four times the size of the investment in U.S. Bank Stadium,"

according to an email Kate Johansen, Mayo Clinic's vice chairwoman of external engagement, sent to the governor and state lawmakers earlier this month.

It would come after Mayo Clinic has reported $172.6 million in local investment related to various construction projects, which Catherine Malmberg, DMC Economic Development Agency director of public infrastructure and development strategy, said is a portion of the nearly $1.5 billion of private investment tied to the DMC initiative since it started.

"We are essentially on track," pointing to recent increases in Mayo Clinic investment, but a decline in other private investment during the pandemic.

Patrick Seeb, the DMC EDA executive director, said work is needed to ensure development increases in the wake of the pandemic.

"Unless we intervene, unless we are strategic about it, we would anticipate continued challenges around private investment," he said of the development of residential and commercial properties in the DMC district.

DMCC Board Chairwoman Pamela Wheelock said it's too early to set a specific course of action, pointing to benefits from current public projects and Mayo Clinic's plans.

"I think between the catalyst of public funds and what we hope to be a significant Mayo investment that develops more fully in the course of the year will drive a renewed interest in private investment that is non-Mayo in the community," she said.

While

no details about Mayo Clinic's potential long-term plans were revealed

during Thursday's meeting, Sexton said she expects conversations with the DMCC board to occur in the future.

"We have a shared goal of making sure that Rochester is the leading destination for hope and health now and into the future," she told the board.