Dec 21, 2022 - News

Hennepin County Medical Center plans major hospital overhaul

A rendering of a parking ramp

This planned parking ramp at Hennepin County Medical Center would set the stage for a hospital overhaul. Image: Courtesy of Hennepin County via city of Minneapolis

Hennepin Healthcare will soon begin a major overhaul that will reshape its downtown Minneapolis hospital campus over the next several years.

State of play: Hennepin County Medical Center consists of several concrete-heavy buildings cobbled together over eight city blocks near U.S. Bank Stadium. Hennepin County Administrator David Hough told Axios those buildings are beyond their useful life.

What's happening: Eventually, Hennepin Healthcare intends to build a new inpatient hospital tower at Eighth Street and Chicago Avenue.

  • But to do that it first has to shift its parking operations. Construction will start during the second half of 2023 on a 1,050-stall parking ramp on what is now a surface lot at 600 Park Ave., Hough said. The building — estimated to cost nearly $100 million — will also include a new EMS dispatch and training center.
  • Once that ramp is complete, Hennepin Healthcare will demolish a 1,400-stall ramp at Eighth and Chicago, making way for the hospital tower.
  • It will also start construction next year on an expansion of its Clinic and Specialty Center, which was completed in 2018.

Why it matters: The plan will modernize one of Minnesota's most important trauma hospitals and shrink its footprint. It will also free up prime real estate in a fast-growing area of the city.

  • "When we build the new inpatient tower, [we will have] the ability to take down some of those (old) buildings, repurpose (them) and really re-energize that side of Minneapolis," said Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer DeCubellis.

The intrigue: Hennepin Healthcare is still designing the inpatient tower, and DeCubellis couldn’t say yet what the size and bed count would be.

  • With pre-construction costs alone pegged between $20-25 million, it's likely to be big.

Details: The new hospital tower will also eliminate double- and triple-occupancy rooms while also adding more family rooms, DeCubellis told Axios.

  • The project will connect the hospital to downtown via a skyway, with a link to Thrivent Financial's new headquarters, per planning commission documents.

What's next: Bidding will begin soon on the ramp construction project. The inpatient tower would not begin construction until at least 2026, though Hough said that’s an aggressive timeline.

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