Obama Foundation releases assessment on the OPC, projects $3.1 billion for the city

Provisional rendering of the Obama Presidential Center provided by the Obama Foundation during its presentation at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, Wednesday, May 3. – Marc Monaghan

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

The Obama Foundation today, Thursday, May 11, released an economic impact assessment that estimates the financial impact that the forthcoming Barack Obama Presidential Center (OPC) will have on the South Side, the city of Chicago, and the state.

The economic impact study, which was conducted by Deloitte Consulting, estimates a 10-year economic impact of $3.1 billion that will generate more than 2,500 jobs in Cook County.

In regards to jobs in the city, the report projects 2,536 permanent jobs in Cook County.

Also, outlined in the assessment is the economic impact for Cook County businesses, $246 million annually, with $177 million expected to flow to businesses on the South Side.

The report also indicates that 4,945 jobs will be created in Cook County during the construction phase of the OPC, generating $296 million.

Last week, former President Barack Obama shared the design concept for the OPC to a packed room at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Dr.

The Obama Foundation released the conceptual vision and site map for the structure, which will be built in Jackson Park, near 60th Street and Stony Island Avenue.

The OPC will house a library holding the presidential archives, a museum focusing on the Obama presidency, and space for programs and initiatives that advance the foundation’s public mission.

The design concept released last week includes three buildings: the museum, forum, and library.

The buildings will form a campus surrounding a public plaza. The OPC will include a state-of-the-art museum, classrooms, labs, and outdoor spaces, and it will conduct programming for visitors intended to provide the tools necessary to spark change in their communities.

Groundbreaking for the project is expected to begin in late 2018 and construction of the building will take about four years, Obama said.

Though the building is not set to open until 2021, Obama said, last week that he wants to start programming and training with young people this summer.

“One of the things that this project is going to do is generate jobs. We want to make sure that some of those young people get trained. Let’s start the pipeline now,” Obama said.

Obama said starting vocational training and programming this summer will help provide opportunities for young people who can then transition into apprenticeships and gain employment at the OPC long-term.

The Obamas will be working with the city of Chicago, the county, and businesses to upstart the programs.

To assist in job training and programming, the Obamas will donate $2 million dollars to summer job programs in the city.

The OPC, according to the assessment, will attract 625,000-760,000 visitors on a yearly basis.

t.hill@hpherald.com