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nomarandlee Nov 25, 2013 1:28 AM

CHICAGO | Obama Presidential Library

UIC makes bid for Obama presidential library and museum

By Jennifer Delgado

Tribune reporter

5:35 p.m. CST, November 24, 2013
The University of Illinois at Chicago announced Sunday that it wants to house President Barack Obama’s future library and museum, joining a growing list of contenders.
UIC is exploring at least five sites on its West Side campus, said university spokesman Bill Burton. The university started discussing the idea of an Obama presidential library in May and is waiting for the White House to make an announcement before possibly moving forward with any proposals, he said.........

Several other sites are also in the mix, including the University of Hawaii, Chicago State University and the University of Chicago, where Obama taught. The former U.S. Steel South Works site on the Southeast Side and an undeveloped 48-acre parcel on the Near South Side have also been discussed...........


nomarandlee Nov 25, 2013 1:41 AM

I thought since UIC is now the first institution to come out and make a play for the future library that the ball will start rolling soon on locations and players for the future library in the near future. Yes, speculation can be silly but also fun. What precise locations do you think are a good fit for the library...........

My top locations

1. Washington Park - Garfield Park Blvd/MLK Dr. - A great potential TOD site right next to Chicago's Washington Park. A very depressed African-American neighborhood that could use a big jolt. A few blocks from the UofChicago which is positive given that I've heard the Libraries and colleges prefer off campus locations.,,0,-11.78

2. Downtown location - I think a great location could be the huge lot on the river just south of the NBC tower and east of the Gleacher Center (UofC Booths school building). It would be a great addition to the river and with the Gleacher Center make a cool educational campus right in the heart of downtown.

3. Southworks site - Not as much of a fan as some others. However it would be a great anchor to a neighborhood in south Chicago that would provide a completely blank slate. You could give it a lakeside/park location and it would still be close to UofC and Obamas home.

4. Midway Plaisance - Somewhere along the Midway Plaisance.........
Either at Stoney Island/60th

or Cottage Grove Ave/60th

or MLK Drive/60th

LouisVanDerWright Nov 25, 2013 2:06 AM

I think I said it a while ago on Curbed or on here, but the best possible site in my mind is the West side of Washington Park on that enormous lot at Garfield and MLK. There is no better location than that in my mind. Top reasons it should be located there:

1. Close to U of C, this is crucial because of Obama's history there and the fact that it will be a huge boon to U of C's academics (particularly the history department) to have a presidential library (particularly one of such historical importance, see below) on their campus.

2. Close to the Green Line, could even be incorporated with a rebuilt Green Line station to further spur redevelopment. This is obviously important so that the library is accessible to the rest of the city. This is also why it should absolutely NOT go to the Southworks site

3. Follows U of C's pattern of jumping it's campus to the other side of the Midway, except taking a bigger leap all the way across the park.

4. It will obviously spur much needed redevelopment in this area.

5. It is a historically appropriate site for the presidential library of the first African American president who began his career community organizing on the South Side. Even the street name (MLK drive) plays to this historical relevance. This could even potentially be expanded to a "mini museum campus" and have other relevant institutions moved to the area such as an expand DuSable Museum perhaps on the West side of the tracks creating a mecca for African American history.

sentinel Nov 25, 2013 3:54 AM

I always envisioned it in my mind's eye between Stony Island and the Stony island metra stop along the Midway Plaisance, there's a nice and sizable chunk of land there and it's relatively easy to get to as well. Again, this is assuming that he would want it built on campus there, due to his past association with U of C.

untitledreality Nov 26, 2013 1:41 AM


Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6351694)
3. Follows U of C's pattern of jumping it's campus to the other side of the Midway, except taking a bigger leap all the way across the park.

Considering that UC has just opened an arts incubator space on the SE corner of Garfield and Prairie, and has made other piecemeal land acquisitions in the same area I see this being the location if it goes to UC.

1. Close to Obama's home.
2. Close to UC.
3. Depressed urban neighborhood.
4. Mass Transit adjacent.
5. Highway accessible.
6. On MLK Drive.
7. On Washington Park.

Can anywhere else even hold a candle to this location?

rgolch Dec 18, 2013 7:21 PM

From Crain's yesterday:

Who's who in Chicago's fight for the Obama library

sukwoo Dec 18, 2013 11:11 PM

Obama’s Library, Advisers’ Dream
WASHINGTON — This spring, a longtime staff member for President Obama, Alyssa Mastromonaco, let a friend in on a secret. Mr. Obama had assigned her to begin planning his post-presidential library and foundation.

It was a plum task. Amid a worsening crisis in Syria, early reports of ghosts haunting the machine and a dreary sense of second-term setbacks, the foundation glowed with the allure of an eternal Obama afterlife, or at least better days ahead. For Ms. Mastromonaco, the project promised the chance to shape a historic legacy and draft a road map for a 55-year-old former president’s remaining life’s work.

nomarandlee Jan 8, 2014 9:29 PM


Obama’s Library, Advisers’ Dream

Published: December 16, 2013

........Already, suitors from Mr. Obama’s home and adopted states — and even New York, where he lived for two years as an undergraduate — are expressing interest in landing the library. But it is Chicago where the competition is most fierce.

“I’m going to make sure that the city of Chicago is well positioned,” said its mayor and Mr. Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who argued that “a world-class library” would serve as an engine of economic development and be a natural fit for the Obamas. “We’re not just relying on the family historical foundations, that this is where he launched his public life, where his wife’s from and the hometown where his kids were educated, though I’m happy to remind him of it.” ...........

On a recent Friday evening, the president and Michelle Obama hosted an intimate dinner at the White House residence with Mr. Emanuel, as well as some of Mr. Obama’s wealthiest supporters, including the entertainment mogul Haim Saban and the Chicago billionaires James S. Crown and Michael Sacks. The very fact of the dinner struck some Obama insiders as indicative of an effort to soften up big targets for an eventual ask.............

A couple of months ago, Mr. Nesbitt, the outside leader of the library effort, met with Mr. Crown, a friend and University of Chicago trustee, to discuss the school’s effort to land the project.

“We are getting some indications of places that are interested,” Mr. Crown recalled Mr. Nesbitt saying.

“Who else is interested?” Mr. Crown said.

“Other places in Chicago, Hawaii,” Mr. Nesbitt replied. “And New York.”

The prospect of the Obama library ending up anywhere other than Chicago — and especially New York — is mortifying to a city that plays such a central role in Mr. Obama’s political narrative. This is the place where the itinerant outsider found a community, a wife, raised his children and laid his roots. It’s the place where he skyrocketed to political stardom, and the home base for many of his closest political advisers and best friends............

John Rogers, an Obama family friend and University of Chicago trustee, argued that a South Side library for the first black president would create a “perfect symmetry” with Lincoln’s library and museum in Springfield. He declined to comment on his conversations with the Obamas and other administration intimates about the subject, but said, “We are a research university; we are studying how others have gotten this done.” .........

nomarandlee Jan 25, 2014 3:50 PM


Emanuel wants 1 pitch for Obama library

Some rivals worry they'll be left out

By Dahleen Glanton and Katherine Skiba, Tribune reporters

January 25, 2014

As President Barack Obama prepares to launch a foundation to oversee plans for his presidential library and museum, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is making it clear that he will play a key role in determining where the project is built if Chicago is chosen as the site.

Emanuel, who previously has been vague about the city's role in an Obama library, hopes to see a single proposal from Chicago, his aides said Friday......

In the coming days, the White House will officially announce that there will be an Obama presidential library and that Chicago business executive Marty Nesbitt will lead the site selection process, a source familiar with the plans said Friday..........

In the past year, a half-dozen sites in Chicago have emerged as possible locations for the Obama library. Supporters have independently made a case as to why their site would be most attractive.

The University of Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood is considered by some to be the front-runner. Obama was a member of the law school faculty for 12 years, and the university has a deep list of financial backers.

But the historic Bronzeville neighborhood, the University of Illinois at Chicago on the Near West Side and Chicago State University on the South Side have also expressed interest.

Emanuel's plan for a single proposal did not sit well with some competitors, particularly those in African-American communities that had hoped the library would bring an economic boon to impoverished neighborhoods......

Although the University of Chicago has not released details of its plans, a spokesman previously said it is possible that the library and museum could be built off-campus if it is selected as the host. Washington Park, which borders the university, has been mentioned as a possible site.......

nomarandlee Mar 7, 2014 4:10 AM


Race for Obama library gets serious

By Paul Merrion March 05, 2014

The bidding war for President Barack Obama's presidential library is expected to formally get underway next week.

Chicago, where the president spent his early career, is vying to put it somewhere on the South Side. New York, where he went to college, and his birthplace of Hawaii are also contenders. Like other presidential libraries, it's expected to be a big draw for tourists and create other economic spinoffs.

House Speaker Michael Madigan underscored Chicago's thirst for the project with a bill introduced yesterday that would steer $100 million in capital development funds............

• Video: Where will Obama's library be?

Madigan wants state to spend $100 million on Obama library
By Ray Long and Maura Zurick

Tribune reporters
8:08 p.m. CST, March 4, 2014

........The speaker joined fellow Democratic Chicago Rep. Monique Davis in introducing legislation to make the construction money available as the sweepstakes to secure the Obama library shifts into a higher gear.......
U. of C. declines to push specific site for Obama library

President should pick Chicago location, university official says
By Dahleen Glanton and Jodi S. Cohen, Tribune reporters

9:59 p.m. CST, March 6, 2014

The University of Chicago has been working behind the scenes to get competing factions to collaborate on a unified bid to build the Obama presidential library in Chicago, but U. of C. officials said Thursday that they won't select a neighborhood for the library — the president and first lady will.............

Foundation taking bids for Obama library
By Dahleen Glanton and Melissa Harris

Tribune reporters

8:35 p.m. CST, January 31, 2014

........Shortly after the foundation was announced, the U. of C. issued a statement confirming its intention to bid for the library and build it at a location off campus. The site has yet to be determined, but a source familiar with the plans said the Washington Park neighborhood is under consideration.........

bnk Mar 7, 2014 5:47 AM

The city will present one unified bid. The UC and their close environs is the really only place it belongs. Forget NYC or HI. Its going to be in Chicago if we don't rip ourselves apart fighting it over it.

ardecila Mar 10, 2014 11:44 PM

I agree with Washington Park - hopefully not IN the park but along Garfield to the west. It would establish a gateway into Hyde Park from the Dan Ryan/Red Line and help to turn around a struggling area. It's really a win-win that addresses the biggest site-selection concerns.

nomarandlee Mar 20, 2014 9:56 PM


Obama library officials allow parties to make their bid

By Dahleen Glanton

Tribune reporter

3:13 p.m. CDT, March 20, 2014

The foundation established to lead the development of President Obama’s library and museum opened the door Thursday for institutions and groups to begin making a pitch to host the site.

The Barack Obama Foundation issued its long-awaited Request for Qualifications on its newly named website, inviting applicants to provide information about how their proposal would impact the community and how it would reflect the president’s vision........

The University of Chicago has said it plans to bid for the library and build it at a location off campus, preferably on the mid-South Side. The university has pulled together a coalition of business leaders and representatives from community organizations on the South Side to work on the bid in an advisory capacity, officials said.

Chicago State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago also plan to bid. Representatives in Pullman, Woodlawn and the Southeast Side also have expressed interest.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, however, has said that there would be a unified proposal from the city, but he has not said how that bid would come together. A single proposal, the mayor said last month, would strengthen Chicago's chances of getting the library.

Other challenges are expected to come from Columbia University in New York and the University of Hawaii in Honolulu..........

bnk Mar 24, 2014 12:14 AM

Natasha Sasha Obama

March 6.

PRESIDENT OBAMA TO HAVE TWO PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES HONORING HIM. Chicago city officials have held several meetings with officials to work out a plan that will ensure that President Obama gets two presidential libraries honoring him. Officials discussed the possibility of having a presidential library along with an Obama institute in Chicago and a presidential center comprising of a smaller library, a museum and an Obama think tank in Hawaii. This will cost over 800 million dollars according to officials from Hawaii and Chicago. What do you make of this?

Mad Dash to Land Home for Obama’s Presidential Library

Abby D. Phillip

Mar 20, 2014 4:47pm

The search for the home of President Obama’s legacy has officially begun.

Today, the Barack Obama Foundation announced it will start fielding preliminary information from potential cities that will bid to host Obama’s presidential library.

Among the cities known to be competing in the bidding process that the Foundation has pledged will be “open and accessible,” are Chicago, Honolulu and New York City.

The “request for qualifications” is just the first step in a process that will take over a year to complete.

Initially, the foundation is seeking logistical, financial and organizational details from prospective bidders, which should include information about access to transportation and community information that would make their site suitable for the library.

“Our goal is to build a library of which the whole country, and hopefully the whole world, can be proud,” said Marty Nesbitt, a member of the foundation board and a close friend of Obama’s. ...

Obama has entrusted Nesbitt, Chicago businessman Kevin Poorman, and Obama campaign veteran Julianna Smoot to lead the process.

Qualifying information is due by July 16 and in the summer the committee will request official proposals from the most competitive applicants. In the meantime...

Here are four things you need to know about the jousting for rights to Obama’s presidential library.

1) Bids will come from far and wide

Chicago is believed to have the strongest chance of winning out–both the president and the first lady have strong ties to the city. But the city isn’t taking any chances, and it may have some difficulty whittling down their own crowded field of potential host sites.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama’s former chief of staff, has made it clear that he doesn’t want the city’s educational institutions fighting amongst themselves for the presidential library.


The competition is also steep among non-Chicago bidders.

Columbia University in New York, ...

But there’s also sunny Hawaii, which has perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing pitch.

The state boasts proudly of being President Obama’s childhood home and has already set aside some prime oceanfront property that could house a presidential facility.

2) Things are heating up

Lobbying has been going on for years now, but ...

Bids will be formally accepted in May and the decision is expected by early 2015, according to the Barack H. Obama Foundation.

3) Could Obama spread the love?


4) Money Talks

Earlier this month, Illinois dropped a not-so-subtle $100 million hint that it wants to draw Obama back to Chicago.

Illinois House Speaker and Democratic Party Chair Michael Madigan announced a bill that would devote $100 million in state funding toward an Obama library project.

The proposal comes, to say the least, a little early, but it is intended to send a clear signal that the state wants to add taxpayer funds to the equation when it comes to funding the library.


Cities with Obama loyalists with deep pockets could find themselves at a distinct advantage.

OhioGuy Mar 24, 2014 1:29 AM

What about along 63rd near University Ave? The library would be positioned directly between the East 63rd-Cottage Grove L terminal approximately four blocks to the west and the 63rd Street Metra station approximately four blocks to the east.

Behold! Michael Sorkin's Proposal for Obama's Presidential Library in Chicago's Woodlawn Neighborhood

untitledreality Mar 25, 2014 2:08 AM


Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 6508423)
What about along 63rd near University Ave? The library would be positioned directly between the East 63rd-Cottage Grove L terminal approximately four blocks to the west and the 63rd Street Metra station approximately four blocks to the east.

Good luck getting people to walk either of those four blocks.

Garfield and MLK, best spot, hands down.

LouisVanDerWright Mar 25, 2014 2:35 PM


Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 6510287)
Good luck getting people to walk either of those four blocks.

Garfield and MLK, best spot, hands down.

I agree, if it ends up there I am going to claim credit for the idea since I've been saying this since the fight over the library first began! :notacrook:

LouisVanDerWright Mar 25, 2014 2:37 PM

Sounds like some of the competition might be resigned to the fact that the library is going to end up here and that they are only going to get anything if they cooperate with the Chicago bid...

Aloha, Chicago: Honolulu mayor eyes joint Obama library bid

By Paul Merrion March 25, 2014

Competition for the Barack Obama Presidential Library could cast the mayors of Chicago and Honolulu into the roles of rivals and eventual teammates.
Aides to Rahm Emanuel and Kirk Caldwell said both Democrats in their first terms as mayor have a “good working relationship” that is “very friendly,” which would help move things along if organizers of presidential library bids in both cities get past the talking stage about working together.

A collaboration would make sense in a lot of ways. While Mr. Obama launched his political career in Chicago, the Aloha State is where he was born and raised.

Hawaii reportedly plans to make a full bid for the presidential library, which is expected to cost upward of $500 million and generate huge economic spinoffs wherever it's located. But given that Chicago is better able to raise that kind of money, Hawaii also is interested in creating a think tank and conference center where world leaders could discuss global issues.

The two men had a substantive meeting in September in Mr. Emanuel's office, when Mr. Caldwell was in town for a meeting of the American Public Transit Association. But recollections about the encounter differ.

A spokesman for Mr. Caldwell said they discussed “a wide range of subjects, including a presidential center.”

However, Mr. Emanuel has no recollection of that part of the conversation. “They didn't discuss the library,” said a mayoral spokeswoman, unless it was when Honolulu's mayor threw a Rahm-style joke at his host, saying something like “Come see my library.”

Their most recent get-together was impromptu, just a brief chance to shake hands and say hello when they ran into each other on the sidelines of a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington in January. But both sides said yesterday that the topic of a presidential library bid didn't come up, contrary to a Jan. 21 report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Mr. Cardwell, 61, is a lawyer and seasoned politician who served in Hawaii's state House of Representatives from 2002 to 2008. He was House Majority Leader during his last two years in office. In July 2010 he became interim mayor of Honolulu after his predecessor resigned to run for governor. He was defeated for re-election in 2010 but was elected in 2012.

It's been previously reported that officials from the University of Chicago, one of the leading contenders to host the complex in Chicago, met with Mr. Caldwell and Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii in January, and a Hawaiian delegation has toured the South Side and met with university officials here...

More at Crains:

Baronvonellis Mar 25, 2014 4:34 PM

Yea, I think Garfield and MLK would be the perfect location too. I know Obama always mentioned he wanted to see a revived Washington Park neighborhood when talking about the Chicago Olympic bid. And the University of Chicago has been buying land around that area to eventually expand the university there. So the university probably owns the land there already.

Obama will only be 55 when he gets out of office, so he will have ~30 years ahead of him to conduct international affairs from Chicago at his Obama Institute.

bnk Mar 25, 2014 5:30 PM


Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6510798)
Sounds like some of the competition might be resigned to the fact that the library is going to end up here and that they are only going to get anything if they cooperate with the Chicago bid...

Aloha, Chicago: Honolulu mayor eyes joint Obama library bid


Sasha Obama reported this March 6th. Apparently he has some inside information.

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.

wrab Jan 1, 2015 1:45 AM


Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6859794)
^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.

The U of C bid proposes/presumes using city park land for the library.

SamInTheLoop Jan 2, 2015 7:03 AM

^^ ^ This really calls into question U of C's whole strategy in terms of their approach to winning this thing as well. I mean, I still think they'll probably get it in the end, but why give Columbia this kind of opening (by being so secretive, not having the land in question lined-up with their ducks in a row, and having it be on public parkland)?? It doesn't exactly reflect well on them in general .......

nomarandlee Jan 2, 2015 11:11 PM

Is there some faulty reporting going on or am I misunderstanding something. I don't know what the MLK/Washington Park site would involve the park district at all. And as far as I remember seeing a map a few weeks ago in the Tribune the university owns nearly everything other then a small parcel from a holdout? I don't know why logistically it would be hard to develop unless if Obama wants some portion of the park across the street. Which would be odd to me.

But then Lynn Sweet in her article claimed that the park district would be involved in the Washington Park site as well. Don't know if she is just uninformed or if there some truth to what she wrote.

Or maybe for whatever reasons that site just isn't as attractive to the Obama as the other southside sites involved with the Park District. To me the Washington Park site would seem a slam dunk in terms of logistics, symbolism, and potential but maybe the Obamas have visions of being on the lake or inside a park?

LouisVanDerWright Jan 3, 2015 12:22 AM

I think there are definitely some wires crossed here as well. I've now seen two or three articles about this hullabaloo and they all have multiple conflicts with one another.

I think the confusion may be stemming from the fact that some portion of that land at Garfield and MLK across from Washington Park is actually owned by the Park District and not the University. This all may be arising from a relatively minor logistical request from the foundation that was picked up on by local news outlets who saw "Obama library" and "Park district land" and figured "we've got another Lucas museum Friends of the Parks drama on our hands!" Does anyone know if there is a map of random lots owned by the Park district in that area?

bnk Jan 3, 2015 4:02 PM

Emanuel poised to announce plans for land acquisition for presidential library

Posted: 01/02/2015, 08:00pm | Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON — The Friends of the Parks is cranking up a drive to force disclosure of the University of Chicago’s secret proposals to use Chicago Park District lands for Barack Obama’s presidential library and museum — but the push may be moot as Mayor Rahm Emanuel is poised to seize control and announce a public process for land acquisition in the coming days, I’ve learned.

With both the U of C and the University of Illinois-Chicago bids for the facility in trouble with the Barack Obama Foundation, City Hall — not the U of C — will now be in charge when it comes to getting rights to the sites, I am told.

I’ve also learned that the South Shore Cultural Center is fading as an active U of C option.


untitledreality Jan 3, 2015 9:40 PM


Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6862133)
I think the confusion may be stemming from the fact that some portion of that land at Garfield and MLK across from Washington Park is actually owned by the Park District and not the University. This all may be arising from a relatively minor logistical request from the foundation that was picked up on by local news outlets who saw "Obama library" and "Park district land" and figured "we've got another Lucas museum Friends of the Parks drama on our hands!" Does anyone know if there is a map of random lots owned by the Park district in that area?

DNAinfo had an article with a map of the area.

I am still very concerned that they are trying to drop this thing in the meadow.

untitledreality Jan 3, 2015 10:30 PM

DNA info has a new article up:


A university spokesman this week declined to specify the boundaries of the proposed site, but said it included land owned by the university in the Washington Park neighborhood, which a December analysis by DNAinfo Chicago revealed to be 26 parcels acquired for $18.3 million over the last six years.

The site also includes a slice of park land in the neighborhood's namesake park, but the spokesman declined to say which part of the park would be used.

ardecila Jan 3, 2015 11:14 PM

The city owns virtually the entire 5300 block of S Prairie (both sides), and the CTA owns almost the entire block their station sits on, both Calumet and Prairie. Then U of C owns the 5400 block of S Calumet and S King Drive. If you expanded that DNAinfo map to the north and west, it would still be a sea of green and red with only a sprinkling of blue private owner holdouts.

There's so much available land here, even without using any of Washington Park. I just don't understand why there is a Park District issue at all. This isn't even like Lucas Museum where by all accounts the benefactor is demanding a parkland site... Obama's legacy is being enmeshed with communities, not set apart from them on a pedestal. Everything can be accommodated in the neighborhood and not in the park, even parking which can be spread out over a handful of lots.

This is an architectural question, but can anyone think of a large institutional building that activates its surroundings, instead of pulling back behind lawns, hedges, or parking lots?

Ch.G, Ch.G Jan 4, 2015 5:48 AM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6862820)
This is an architectural question, but can anyone think of a large institutional building that activates its surroundings, instead of pulling back behind lawns, hedges, or parking lots?

The Yale Center for British Art by Kahn. Chapel Street is an important commercial thoroughfare in New Haven. The building allows for storefront retail, which is "inserted" into the ground-floor "slots" of the grid. At least one of them, Atticus, a coffeehouse/bookstore, is practically an institution unto itself. The parking is kept in the rear/interior of the block. There's a decent-sized curb cut for vehicular access along High Street, so it's not ideal. But it acts sort of like a mid-block alley and is also well landscaped with some mature trees.

It's interesting, too, because across the street is the Yale University Art Gallery featuring an addition that was one of Kahn's first major commissions IIRC. I personally love it, but it's pretty stark, and, like many of Yale's buildings, sort of turns its back to the city.

Anyway, as far as well-integrated institutions go, it was the first one that came to my mind. Unfortunately, I don't know how popular Chapel was at the time of its construction, by which I mean, I'm not sure if there was already a strong retail presence there or if the Center helped create that demand, so the circumstances are potentially very different.

ardecila Jan 5, 2015 8:21 AM

Ah, Lou Kahn... that may be one of the most urban art museums I've ever seen. Thanks for the share, I have yet to see any of his buildings in person.

I think the abandonment circumstances of Washington Park are fairly limited to a subset of American cities, so finding a successful precedent is not easy. Surely there must be something in a regenerating industrial area that offers some lessons? Sounds like a job for Rem Koolhaas.

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