Downtown Redevelopment | Essentia Health

Essentia Health and the Benedictine Sisters of the St. Scholastica Monastery are planning for an exciting future for Essentia’s medical campus in Duluth’s Hillside where the properties owned by both organizations will become available for redevelopment over the next several years. A redevelopment study for Essentia Health’s medical campus has been created with input from neighbors, community groups and the City of Duluth. We hope this redevelopment concept will spur public and private investments that leverage the investment Essentia has made in its replacement hospital.

view of downtown duluth redevelopment area

Input from Community:

In the fall of 2022, Essentia Health held a series of listening sessions to collect input from community members regarding the redevelopment of Essentia’s medical campus. Here is a summary [PDF] of feedback received. We are pleased to report that much of this input is included in the guiding principles and the goals/guidelines for development that Essentia and the Benedictine Sisters plan to oversee throughout the next twenty years.

Guiding Principles for the Redevelopment:

The redevelopment of property currently owned by Essentia and the Benedictine Sisters will be purchased and developed through private or public partnerships. Essentia and the Sisters will be involved in the redevelopment to the extent they can ensure that the following principles are upheld.

Prior to development, the Sisters and Essentia will affirm that the following principles are met:

  • State-of-the-art facilities: Through our replacement St. Mary’s Medical Center, we will provide the highest level of care to benefit patients and caregivers.
  • Downtown Duluth: We will support Essentia’s medical campus and serve as a catalyst for investment in the area
  • A healthy community: All land-use decisions will be valued based on how they support the mission of Essentia and the Monastery to improve the health of Northland residents.
  • The stewardship of assets and realization of their optimal potential: Essentia and the Monastery will be good stewards of the assets entrusted to them to carry out their missions.

Redevelopment Goals and Guidelines

  • Healthy neighborhood
  • Build on existing strengths
  • Maximize lake views
  • Activate the street
  • Consolidate parking needs
  • Enhance connectivity
  • Encourage hospitality
  • Create shared spaces
  • Increase mobility options
  • Integrate sustainability

rendering of downtown duluth garden with man walking dog and flowers

A Complete Community:

Quality employment, a full range of housing options, education, access to clean air, light, water, and healthy food, as well as support for a robust social and spiritual life, are all fundamental to a healthy community. The redevelopment plan for Essentia’s medical campus is intended to enhance the vitality of the Hillside by creating a complete, walkable neighborhood that supports a healthy community. The redevelopment study seeks to create a special place in Duluth where people come to heal, learn, live, work, play, and stay.

  • Heal – A $900 million investment in state-of-the-art health care.
  • Learn – Space for a 250,000+ square foot medical education campus
  • Live – A full range of housing choices
  • Work – A diverse array of employment opportunities
  • Play – A well-connected and amenity-rich neighborhood
  • Stay – A variety of reasons to visit and places to stay

This is a long-term plan that includes the opportunity for Essentia Health and the Benedictine Sisters to partner with the City and developers to build a sustainable, thriving neighborhood through the redevelopment of land.

View the Essentia Health medical district property map [PDF].

With plans to consolidate Essentia’s 16-block campus into a smaller footprint, approximately 18 properties owned by Essentia Health and the Benedictine Sisters of the St. Scholastica Monastery will become available for redevelopment. This represents a great opportunity for Duluth to leverage existing infrastructure and key assets to restore vitality to downtown and the Hillside. The potential to connect housing, employment, education, and hospitality to some of Duluth’s most valuable assets, including the connection to the lakefront, is exciting.

To provide input, comments, and questions please reach out to Essentia Health Community Relations Director Tonya Loken by email or 218-213-3063

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