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rgolch Mar 25, 2014 5:51 PM

I think its really starting to look like the official library will be on the south side, with a secondary center and additional museum in Hawaii. And I'm totally cool with that. As long as we get the official library, I think it'd be great if HI gets some love. I'd bet Columbia University got embolden by the rumor floating around that Obama was going to live in NY after his presidency. Even if that's the case, symbolically it makes no sense for the library to be in NY.

nomarandlee Apr 5, 2014 4:06 PM

Obama library can generate hope and change

A number of neighborhoods could benefit from institution, but they need to bring something to the game

By Dahleen Glanton and Melissa Harris, Tribune reporters

6:50 a.m. CDT, April 5, 2014

For people who don't live in the South Side neighborhood of Washington Park, there is hardly a reason to take the CTA's Green Line to the Garfield station.

Though barely a mile from the stately University of Chicago campus, the desolate block of East Garfield Boulevard between Martin Luther King Drive and Prairie Avenue has little to offer, mostly one shuttered storefront after another and remnants of broken signage from businesses that once beckoned customers.

But it's possible that the landscape could change. Washington Park residents are pinning their hopes on President Barack Obama — that he will select the U. of C. to host his presidential library and that the university will build it on the swath of vacant, city-owned land adjacent to the "L."........

None of the 13 presidential libraries and museums administered by the National Archives and Records Administration has been built in a low-income, inner-city neighborhood. So the challenge of using a presidential library as an economic engine to overhaul a neighborhood that suffers from long-term disinvestment is untested, according to library experts.......

"It's a noble thought to say, 'We're going to use the presidential library as a vehicle to rehabilitate an area.' But in doing that, you have to make sure you don't damage the library as a whole and end up not helping anyone," he said.........

In Bronzeville, just south of McCormick Place, residents want the library built on the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital, a 48-acre property owned by the city. Chicago developer Dan McCaffery wants the library to anchor his $4 billion retail and residential development planned on the old U.S. Steel South Works site in southeast Chicago. The University of Illinois at Chicago is looking at six sites on the Near West Side to offer for the library. Chicago State University has identified two potential sites on its South Side campus, and a third site in the Pullman Historic District, which is being proposed as a national park.........

The University of Chicago has brought together a coalition of South Side residents, including Adams, to serve as advisers for its library proposal. In addition to Washington Park, there is land farther south in Woodlawn and South Shore as well as on the Near South Side near Roosevelt Road that could accommodate a library.

University officials have not indicated a preference for a specific site but have said that if they are awarded the project, they prefer to build it "in the heart of the South Side," near their Hyde Park campus. The university will not choose a specific site but will leave that up to Obama and the first lady.

"Our view is that we very much want the Obama library on the mid-South Side. In any event, Hyde Park is landlocked, so it would have to be somewhere in the surrounding area," said Susan Sher, senior adviser to U. of C. President Robert Zimmer and coordinator of its library effort. "We won't offer a site in our proposal. If we are more open to possibilities, it could increase our chances. It shows we're flexible.........

Sher confirmed that the city-owned property in Washington Park is among several potential sites the university has looked at on the South Side. The university owns an adjacent lot that currently holds a gas station as well as a strip of mostly vacant 1920s-era storefronts on East Garfield. Last year the university opened the Arts Incubator — studio space for artists-in-residence — in one of the newly rehabbed storefronts............"

LouisVanDerWright Apr 17, 2014 5:19 PM


Emanuel: I'll be 'subtle' in Obama library pitch

By Thomas A. Corfman April 17, 2014

Known for his blunt style, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he will be “subtle” in reminding President Barack Obama of his ties to Chicago as he makes the case that the city is the best location for his library.

Mr. Emanuel testified today at a hearing of an Illinois House committee, which is considering a bill to devote $100 million in state construction funds to help land the project. New York and Hawaii are also expected to submit bids.

The measure is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan and state Rep. Monique Davis, both Chicago Democrats. Mr. Madigan has said it's important to make a strong financial commitment to honor the legacy of Mr. Obama, who got his political start in Illinois.

In his testimony today, Mr. Emanuel said, “We are not going to rely on the president's affinity for the city of Chicago.”

bnk Dec 9, 2014 8:00 PM

U. of C. Obama library bid: Alliances with other schools
This undated file photo released by Obama for America shows Barack Obama teaching at the University of Chicago Law School in Chicago. (AP Photo/Obama for America, File)

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 7:43pm

Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON — The University of Chicago’s bid for the Obama Presidential library and museum, due Thursday, will include proposals for a variety of collaborations with Chicago area universities and community groups as the school seeks to downplay its elitist image.

The U. of Chicago has been in talks with 17 Chicago area schools, including Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology, the City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago State University, an unsuccessful library bidder cut in the first round.

The list of potential academic alliances included in a statement the University of Chicago released on Monday does not include any pacts with the three other rival finalists: the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University in New York and the University of Hawaii.


Putting together deals with academic and community partners is an explicit requirement for all four bidders from the Barack Obama Foundation, headquartered in Chicago.

Bidders must submit information about “any formal or community-based partnerships with the university that are relevant to the project.”


The UIC will publically release its bid. The University of Chicago and Columbia will not. The foundation will not be making the bids public.

Some of the concepts the U. of C. is advancing: Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism would run a “newsroom” out of the library; DePaul scholars would study youth violence; IIT would ponder digital policies; CSU would focus on African-American males; the Art Institute would explore urban agriculture, and Loyola would help prepare for environmental sustainability careers.


untitledreality Dec 14, 2014 7:09 PM

UIC has made their bid public

Randomguy34 Dec 15, 2014 4:10 PM

Man, seeing UIC's proposal I kind of want them to win instead of UChicago. Why isn't UChicago releasing their bid public?

LouisVanDerWright Dec 18, 2014 12:30 AM


Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 6844326)
Why isn't UChicago releasing their bid public?

Probably because they know they are going to win and we'll get to see it anyhow.

stevevance Dec 18, 2014 9:36 AM

UIC's proposal has two sites: (1) a community site in North Lawndale at Roosevelt and Kostner (currently vacant, but also Planned Development 941 associated with Central City Studios, LLC in 2004); and (2) an academic site at UIC's vacant parcel (used by students for flag football and other games) at Harrison/Halsted (East Campus). UIC would have the connected with a bus rapid transit line (BRT) on Roosevelt as well as the Blue Line to a reopened Kostner station (which Mayor Emanuel committed to reopening).

UIC is also proposing new parkland by capping the Eisenhower in several locations in North Lawndale and at the East Campus, and a cap over the Dan Ryan near Roosevelt.

The video narration is annoying because of its cliché utterances and emotional tone, and you can see the same visuals in the proposal PDF.

University of Chicago, on the other hand, has proposed three sites on Chicago Park District property (Jackson Park, Washington Park, and the South Shore Cultural Center) although its possible that the Washington Park proposal is actually on 10 acres of land the university has purchased.

Via Chicago Dec 30, 2014 8:37 PM


Obama library officials dissatisfied with Chicago's two bids

Obama presidential library officials privately are dissatisfied with Chicago's two bids for the multimillion dollar facility, a home for which is expected to be announced in early 2015, according to a source close to the foundation leading the effort for the president and first lady.

According to the source, the foundation's board, which includes two prominent Chicagoans, has "major concerns" that the University of Chicago's proposal, which has not been made public, lacks a site that is wholly controlled by the university.

Meanwhile, the source classified the University of Illinois at Chicago's proposal as "strong" but said the foundation is worried about pending leadership transitions.

eaguir3 Dec 30, 2014 10:55 PM

WTF, seriously!! Can't the U of C just pick 63rd St between the Metra and the Green Line. Does someone currently own that land?

Mr Downtown Dec 30, 2014 11:17 PM

^U of C doesn't have eminent domain authority. They can't just pick some part of the city and tell the current landowners to get out.

Chi-Sky21 Dec 30, 2014 11:34 PM

I think its time U of C just give them the Gleacher Center. Rework Cityfront Plaza and Pioneer Court and the connection to the river and Michigan...problem solved.

wierdaaron Dec 30, 2014 11:39 PM

Since the Bears aren't making use of Soldier Field they should just stick the thing there.

SamInTheLoop Dec 30, 2014 11:49 PM

I think Rahm will probably slam some craniums together and get this figured out, however it's still a little concerning that they didn't have their shit buttoned up - for the U of C bid (UIC is not, and was never a real contender) -prior to submission....

bnk Dec 30, 2014 11:50 PM


Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 6844326)
Man, seeing UIC's proposal I kind of want them to win instead of UChicago. Why isn't UChicago releasing their bid public?

Answer in article.

Chicago Obama library bids in trouble; foundation has 'major concerns' with U. of C. proposal

Posted: 12/30/2014, 12:45pm | Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON — The Barack Obama Foundation has major problems with the University of Chicago bid for the Obama presidential library and museum and is uneasy about the bid from the University of Illinois at Chicago, leaving Columbia University in New York the frontrunner for the project.

A source close to the foundation told me that the University of Chicago bid is in jeopardy because it does not own — and has no definite path to acquiring at present — any of the South Side sites the school proposed in its Dec. 11 bid. The land is owned by the Chicago Park District.

“There are major concerns with the three potential sites in the University of Chicago proposal given the fact that neither the school nor the City of Chicago control the sites,” the source said.

The jolt from the foundation, led by Marty Nesbitt, a friend of President Barack Obama, puts pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff. “The point is the city needs to solve the problem as much as the University of Chicago,” the source said.

“Clearly the city has made no secret of its determination to make sure the Obama library is in Chicago. So given that, it is not unrealistic for the foundation to believe that the city can resolve the issues in a timely fashion.”

Emanuel adviser David Spielfogel told me...

In contrast, Columbia University owns the land it is offering to the foundation, has stable leadership and the mega financial muscle at least the equal to the University of Chicago.


As I’ve been reporting throughout the year – not based on official University of Chicago sources — that the University of Chicago proposed sites – at the South Shore Cultural Center and in Jackson and Washington Parks – are owned by the Chicago Park District.

This means that the University of Chicago strategy to win the library and museum – never officially asking the Chicago Park District for the land and keeping its sites secret until recently in order not to stir up public protest — is on track to backfire and prevent the school from even being in the running.

Land acquisition is a crucial component for the foundation. The bid is supposed to contain a “detailed proposed process to obtain control of the site and convey it to the foundation,” according to the bid document – called a “request for proposal” — that the foundation issued on Sept. 15.

The University of Chicago bid was submitted without that process in place.


But because the university has been so secretive, the public has no idea how many acres are involved or the locations of other parcels in the city that can be converted to parks.


Another factor that may complicate land acquisition for the university is the proposed George Lucas museum on Chicago Park District land south of Soldier Field. City Hall faces a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Park claiming that the city does not have the authority to give away the land.

I reported earlier this month that Friends of the Park president Cassandra Francis told me “We do not believe the parks are the University of Chicago’s to offer up to the library.”


LaVelle told me she would seek public input over giving up park land. But nothing official — meaning on the public record — has yet to come to the board.

I’m told the University of Chicago has been aware of the problem for some time – but never picked a site it has control over to include as an option. The school rejected an offer of empty, privately owned parcels on the Southeast Side at 79th and Lake Michigan that the owners were offering for free.


ardecila Dec 31, 2014 12:52 AM

The U of C has been so damn secretive about their bid, I have no idea how to take this news. I thought a front runner site for the library was King/55th, where the University already has significant land holdings. Why put one more sprawling building in Washington Park when there is so much vacant land across the street?

The only way I would accept a building in the park is if it would also come with substantial park improvements, like placing Garfield below-grade so it doesn't chop up the park - this idea was floated as a mitigation for the ill fated Olympic bid.

bnk Dec 31, 2014 1:02 AM

I know that the Midwest thread is not all that busy these days but there is a dedicated thread on the BHO library already.

Perhaps someone could merge the discussion there so these comments are not buried in a few days in this general Chicago discussion link. Those that would like to find our impute would never find them here if they wanted our comments and information on the Obama Presidential Library site selection process.

brian_b Dec 31, 2014 2:20 PM


Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 6859810)
I think its time U of C just give them the Gleacher Center. Rework Cityfront Plaza and Pioneer Court and the connection to the river and Michigan...problem solved.

Gleacher Center is so highly used that U of C rented a large amount of space in NBC Tower and did a really nice build out.

untitledreality Dec 31, 2014 7:18 PM

I can't believe that UoC had the audacity of offering park land for their library proposal. Or the stupidity for not just choosing to utilize their own property holdings at 55th/MLK. In no way whatsoever should this structure get approval to be placed in either Washington Park or Jackson Park.

Via Chicago Dec 31, 2014 9:17 PM


Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 6860497)
I can't believe that UoC had the audacity of offering park land for their library proposal. Or the stupidity for not just choosing to utilize their own property holdings at 55th/MLK. In no way whatsoever should this structure get approval to be placed in either Washington Park or Jackson Park.

Im right with you.

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