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Citywide Biotech Makeover

Rochester, Minn., has an ambitious plan to transform itself into a biotech and medical hub, the Verge reports. Already, the city of 110,000 people hosts some 1.3 million visitors from across the US and the world each year, often as they seek treatment at the Mayo Clinic there.

The global medical tourism market is worth some $100 billion and has been estimated to be growing at a 35 percent yearly rate, the Verge adds.

The city's 20-year, $6.5 billion project aims to renovate the city, develop new office space for biotech and pharma companies, and add upscale retail spots — the Verge likens the look of the mockups to the game SimCity. The plans also call for concessions to the area's climate such as skybridges, heated sidewalks, and underground tunnels. 

This Destination Medical Center, or DMC, was approved by the city council in March, the Verge adds, and includes private and foreign investment.

Critics, it says, argue that the project is vague and its plans for affordable housing are unclear. 

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