F&C Top Projects: UMC Innovation Center

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Ultra Machining Company (UMC) Innovation Center was selected as one of Finance & Commerce’s Top Projects of 2022, recognizing Minnesota’s top design and construction projects for the year.

An independent panel of judges selected 50 honorees for the annual program. Projects are judged for their degree of difficulty, creativity in design, innovative construction techniques, cooperation among contractors and management, and sustainability efforts.

Ultra Machining Company (UMC) Innovation Center
Location: 500 Chelsea Rd, Monticello, MN 55362

For over 50 years, Ultra Machining Company (UMC) has been a precision manufacturing leader for the medical, aerospace, and defense industries. To elevate its mission as a manufacturing innovator, accommodate growth, and enhance employees’ work environment, the company embarked on an expansion at its Monticello campus. The UMC Innovation Center showcases state-of-the-art precision manufacturing capabilities, providing space and flexibility for UMC to experiment with automation, technology, and processes as they work with clients. The design creates a connected campus, while preserving the opportunity for UMC to expand further and separate their facilities if needed in the future.

UMC partnered with the City of Monticello to purchase a city-owned lot adjacent to their existing site south of I-94. This was a rare opportunity to expand in-place, and the city was supportive of UMC’s plan to beautify this highly visible gateway and add high-tech job opportunities. The expansion allows for future growth of each building while also preserving them as separate parcels, allowing UMC to subdivide the site if conditions changed over time.

The team worked closely with UMC to maintain two separate lots while master planning potential expansion space to support future business changes. The 72,000 SF existing building and lot is connected to the new expansion by a two-story link, supporting the ability for future separation if required. Physically connecting to the existing building was challenging as the team needed to account for different heights and incorporate architectural elements, and physical connections that supported efficient production and material flows, while still meeting current design standards.

The design complements and connects to UMC’s 20-year-old existing building, utilizing similar design elements and building forms to enhance architectural cohesion, while preserving their abilities to both expand and subdivide space as needed in the future.

During construction, the team navigated several site and process challenges including stormwater retention design, navigating site logistics and parking to reduce negative impact to ongoing operations, and dealing with supply chain issues and increased steel prices caused by the pandemic.

The Innovation Center offered UMC the opportunity to beautify a highly visible site on I-94 at the Gateway to Monticello, while also getting the rare chance to expand in-place and create additional high-tech job opportunities for its community and local economy.

UMC has an extensive program and commitment to introducing students to STEM and manufacturing through partnerships with high schools, technical colleges, apprenticeships, and other programs. The campus is strategically sited near a local high school, allowing UMC to host tours, classes, and clubs for students and groups in the community.


  • Owner: Ultra Machining Company
  • Contractor: Larson Building
  • Architect & Interior Designer: Pope Design Group
  • Civil Engineer: Stantec
  • Structural Engineer: Nelson-Rudie & Associates
  • Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Dunham
  • Furniture: Fluid and Intereum
  • Project Manager: Steve Northway, Construction Advocates
  • Photographer: Nate Johnson Studio

See the rest of this year’s honorees on the Finance & Commerce’s announcement.

This year’s Top Project will be featured in a special magazine and in a series of stories and photos in the Finance & Commerce daily newspaper and on the F&C website starting in July.