A year to the day after President Barack Obama gave his farewell address before a packed house on the Chicago lakefront, and mere days after throwing in the towel in a parking-facility scuffle with neighbors and preservationists, the Obama Foundation has laid its Obama Presidential Center plan on the city of Chicago’s table for its formal review.
Now that the plan, whose architects were named some 18 months ago (shortly before its south side site was selected), has taken on what may be its final form, pending receipt of City Hall approvals, so, too, have some of the figures, both fiscal and physical.
• Estimated cost of project: $350 million.
• Site area, in acres: 22.
• Number of main buildings in complex: Three (Forum, Museum and Library), joined by the complex’s Plaza and Athletic Center.
• Height of main building: 235 feet.
• Percentage taller than high end of original estimate: 31.
• Anticipated financial impact on city of Chicago in first 10 years: $3.1 billion.
• Estimated number of jobs to be created in first 10 years: “Thousands,” according to the foundation.
• Year in which the Obama Presidential Center is slated to open its doors: 2021.
• Seasons in which Obama center expects to welcome visitors to both indoor and outdoor features and attractions: Four.
• Federal funds flowing to the Obama center: $0 (the Obama Foundation having opted out of the National Archives and Records Administration model of presidential library management).
• Number of government-run presidential libraries and museums: 13.
• Number of faculty members at the University of Chicago — adjacent to the center’s site in Jackson Park — petitioning the foundation this week to choose a new location: 120-plus.
From the archives: The Obama hometown embrace