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Obama Presidential Library roundup: A look at 7 major bidders
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Obama Presidential Library roundup: A look at 7 major bidders

Posted on Tue, Aug 5, 2014

From the Sun-Times

This rendering of the proposed presidential library is included in the bid to the Barack Obama Foundation from McCaffery Interests. Developer Dan McCaffery wants the library to be a focal point of his 589-acre Chicago Lakeside project, site of the former U.S. Steel South Works. | Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Obama Presidential Library roundup: A look at 7 major bidders

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 9:48am

Sydney Lawson



The Obama Presidential Library and Museum is a future gem supporters say will drive economic growth and help communities in need. The question is where will the 14th federal presidential library be located? 

The Chicago-based Barack Obama Foundation is expected to have a short list of bidders by mid-September. A location is expected to be announced by the foundation in early 2015.

Here's a look at seven of the major bidders hoping to land an Obama museum, with most of them being universities. 

Former U.S. Steel South Works site
On the Southeast Side off the shore of Lake Michigan with a view of the Chicago skyline, developer and bidder Dan McCaffery said this would be the most beautiful site in the city for the library. Obama once worked as a community organizer near this location.

University of Chicago
Located in Hyde Park on the South Side, potential sites include parcels near 55th and King Drive and the South Shore Cultural Center, at 7059 S. South Shore Drive. Obama taught at the university’s law school for more than a decade and their daughters also attended U of C’s Laboratory Schools.

University of Illinois at Chicago
This university proposed three sites: Harrison Field in Little Italy, an area in the Illinois Medical District and the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. Supporters say North Lawndale is part of Obama’s history as a community organizer.

Chicago State University
On the far South Side, Chicago State University is another educational institution hoping to score the presidential library. Chicago State staff members say the library would be a great addition to the expansion they are already planning for the university. The site also has close ties to the Obamas. "95th Street corridor marks the place where Barack Obama began his neighborhood organizing, which strongly influenced the tenor of his presidency,” the bid says. It's also close to the South Shore neighborhood home of Michelle Obama.

Former Michael Reese Hospital site
Demolished in 2009, the former location of the Michael Reese Hospital is located in the historic neighborhood of Bronzeville. Chicago Architecture firm HOK has pitched this site, which would sit on land that was previously purchased to house an Olympic Village for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. 

New York City’s Columbia University
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio fully supports having the library at Columbia University, where Obama earned his undergraduate degree in 1983. The library would be put in Harlem, which has other presidential ties besides Obama. Former President Ulysses S. Grant is buried there, and Alexander Hamiltion once owned a home in Harlem.

University of Hawaii
Located in Honolulu, the university says presidential libraries and museums are usually located in a president’s home state. The university is leading a state and local government consortium in an effort to create the Obama Presidential Center.


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