Hilton Hotel Reinforces Urban Amenities in Downtown Rochester

Part of City’s Destination Medical Center, the mixed-use hotel continues to diversify dining, hospitality, and recreational options in downtown Rochester.

Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area exterior street view

After a multi-year planning and design process, the luxury Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area is open to the public at the corner of South Broadway and East Center Streets in downtown Rochester, Minnesota.

Designed by HGA with long-time business partner Titan Development & Investments, the mixed-use, 264-room, 20-story hotel is one of the first completed projects in Rochester’s Destination Medical Center initiative – a public-private partnership to position Rochester as the world’s premier destination for health and wellness.

One of the tallest buildings downtown, the hotel offers a unique and diverse blend of dining, hospitality, conferencing, and wellness options for area residents, the business community, and medical tourism alike.

“This world-class project has helped Rochester to further stand out as a healthcare, business, and tourism destination and will continue to do so for decades to come. Bringing the Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area to fruition has been a highlight in my 40+ year career in Rochester real estate,” said Gus Chafoulias, Chairman of Titan Development & Investments.

“The design concept seeks to welcome visitors with an expression of the unique and special qualities of Rochester and the surrounding area,” said HGA Design Principal Victor Pechaty, AIA. “This is a landmark project for the city and the region.”

Elevating Brand Standards

Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area interior lobby 2

HGA and Titan worked with Hilton to develop a unique version of its brand standard, bringing regional Minnesota influences into the design. The building’s interior spaces feature references to southeastern Minnesota. A wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures abstractly reflect the winter landscape, limestone quarries, and the quilted pattern of the rural agrarian setting. The lobby’s focal point, a grand, circular metal staircase, showcases hand-crafted wooden rails and granite stairs, continuing a biophilic experience. Glass and metal are prominently used on the exterior of the building as well, keeping the design cohesive and sleek. “There is a warmth and visual lightness to the building that is both welcoming and modern,” Pechaty added.

Efficient Programming

Critical to Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area’s success is efficient programming and use of space, where access to sunlight and downtown views are vital design elements on a challenging urban site just north of an existing tower. The “L-shaped” tower configuration provides ample open space between hotel suites and the existing building. Enclosing an accessible roof terrace, the guest rooms view the terrace in the foreground, and the downtown Rochester skyline beyond.

Additionally, the hotel meets the needs of both tourists and locals. The first five stories offer visitors retail options; two grand ballrooms; a 24-hour fitness center with a heated infinity pool; a spa; and outdoor terrace. The development is also home to two restaurants: Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse, and Benedict’s, a quintessential diner serving breakfast and lunch.

Cost-Saving Engineering

Throughout the planning process, HGA’s architecture and structural engineering teams rapidly proto-typed structural configurations, maximizing the usability and layout of the floors. Sloping building columns, stepped framing, and large openings were used to tailor the structure to the building’s functions.

Significantly, when a key user group expressed the need for more ballroom space to accommodate conferences and programs, HGA employed an innovative two-way steel truss system and specialized vibration analysis methods, which allowed the team to stack two 9,000-square-foot ballrooms on top of each other. This solution lowered the height of the building by 10 feet compared to a traditional truss system resulting in significant cost savings.

Additional reductions in cost for both the structure and exterior walls were found through wind tunnel testing. HGA worked with a consultant to determine that the building could be safely designed for wind loads roughly 20 percent lower than otherwise required by code.

Legacy to Rochester’s Growth

With the completion of Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area, the city of Rochester has a significant new amenity as Mayo continues to expand its Destination Medical Center.

HGA has slowly been transforming Rochester’s downtown over the years with buildings that promote the city’s growth. Recent projects include the University of Minnesota Rochester campus, 318 Commons mixed-use student housing, Minnesota BioBusiness Development Center, and the Multidisciplinary Simulation Center at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

“Our goal at HGA has always remained the same—to build partnerships with clients, developers, and the community through a shared commitment to Rochester’s economic growth,” said HGA Principal Hal Henderson, AIA. “The new hotel is an exciting urban addition that points to Rochester’s future and growing importance for healthcare, business, and hospitality.”