Here's some of the lead-in to my package from the weekend about the $4.1 million contracts for the consultants to create the Destination Medical Center plan to re-make Rochester.
There's a lot more detail in the rest of the package. So if you are interested in this topic, I'd suggest reading the full piece.
And for the document wonks out there like me, here's the 251 page PDF that includes all of the contracts with Nelson / Nygaard Consulting Associates of San Francisco; Kimley-Horn and Associates of Cary, N.C.; AECOM Technical Services of Los Angeles; and EE&K of New York.
Planning for a complex initiative like Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center doesn't come cheaply.
The surge of DMC hype already has national and international businesses fluttering around Rochester's sudden glow. The sale of commercial real estate is booming, particularly in the downtown core. New housing developments are being mapped out for the tens of thousands of people expected to move to Rochester for the forecasted 35,000 to 45,000 new jobs.
However, there's no blueprint yet for the $6 billion upgrade of the city's infrastructure, transportation systems, private development and more that's at the heart of DMC's vision of a Rochester better suited to accommodate more patients for Mayo Clinic.
Hiring a team to create a detailed plan for the massive undertaking to change the face of the city was a top priority for the public Destination Medical Center Corp. board of directors.
Public-private projects on this scale are rare in U.S., so there are not many examples to follow. National experts say sports developments, like the $975 million Vikings stadium and the new $622 million Atlanta Braves stadium, are about the only comparable projects to what is being proposed in Rochester.
The DMCC contracted with the DMC private Economic Development Agency, led by Mayo Clinic's Lisa Clarke, to handle hiring consultants to create the overall DMC "development plan." In December, the EDA board posted requests for proposal for six roles in the planning process.
With so much money on the table, proposals came in from 19 leading firms across the country and even overseas. Five of the teams vying for the contracts are based in Minnesota with three of them having offices in Rochester.
In April, the EDA wrapped up that six-month hiring process by contracting with four national consulting firms. Two were chosen to fill dual roles.
All of the consultants have had experience in major public-private projects, from stadiums to transit systems to airports.
Those four, plus another company hired in February, will be paid a total of $4.1 million this year to create the DMC's grand plan by February. That $4.1 million accounts for almost half of the DMC's total city-funded budget of $8.2 million for 2014.
In the end, all of the Minnesota hopefuls were passed over for the DMC planning jobs.
"The main factors that influenced our decisions was experience, knowledge of the market and the team they put forward. Those were the basic components we needed to consider as we moved forward," said Clarke. "I'm very confident that we have hired the best."