President Obama's Presidential Library to Be Built in Chicago
President Obama says Chicago's South Side is where his career began.
— -- President Obama has chosen the Windy City to be the home for his presidential library.
The Barack Obama Foundation, the president's non-profit organization established in 2014 to oversee the process of selecting and building the library, made the announcement official this morning following months of speculation and media reports that Chicago was to become the likely place from competing bids that included New York City and Hawaii.
"All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago," Obama says in a video message announcing his decision. "That’s where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities in public service. That’s where I met my wife. That’s where my children were born."
The Obama Presidential Center will include a library, museum, offices and meeting space, according to the announcement. It will partner with the University of Chicago, where Obama taught law school between 1992 and 2004.
"I’m thrilled to be able to put this resource in the heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me," First Lady Michelle Obama says in the video. "Every value, every memory, every important relationship to me exists in Chicago. I consider myself a South Sider."
The selection of Chicago concludes what has been a 15-month-long bidding process, during which over a dozen potential sites were considered.
The Foundation said it would "maintain a presence" at Mr. Obama's alma mater, Columbia University, in New York City. Officials also planned to develop a "lasting presence," perhaps in the form of a satellite institute or university partnership, in Hawaii, Obama's birthplace.
The Obama Foundation said that "economic development opportunities, community interest and engagement and the potential for academic and programmatic collaboration," were key factors in the decision-making process. The final decision was made personally by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The bids to host Obama's legacy library and foundation were in part a bid for the economic development that comes along with it.
The University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and Columbia University in New York City were also finalists in consideration for the library.
Honolulu was considered the most likely competitor to Chicago in the final stages of the bidding process. Despite the loss for the small island state, which would have stood to benefit from the economic stimulus of the presidential library, is still expected to get some recognition by the Foundation.
The chairman of the Board of the Barack Obama Foundation Martin Nesbitt will be joined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel later today for a news conference in Chicago’s South Side, during which they are expected to reveal more details about the library.