Photo via: The Obama Foundation
After months of meetings and conversations around the Obama Foundation's plan to construct an Obama Presidential Center (OPC) on Chicago’s Southside, the project has finally been greenlit. The approximately $350 million-dollar project will set a historic precedent by employing majority minority-owned contracting firms to execute the project.
An alliance of firms owned by persons of color are set to have an unprecedented 51% stake in the project. While Turner Company, one of the country’s largest construction companies, will have a 49% stake. Often times, minority-owned firms are hired on as subcontractors on projects of this size yet never obtain such a large percentage stake. "The Obama Foundation believes in creating opportunities for diverse and local businesses and building pathways to meaningful jobs for minorities and other underrepresented populations,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. The Lakeside Alliance of firms set to take on the project, includes: Powers & Sons Construction, UJAMMA Construction, Brown & Momen, and Safeway Construction.
Chicago's Jackson Park has been identified as the site of the new commemorative center. There are plans to redevelop the park, the South Shore Cultural Center, and a lush golf course as a part of the larger OPC. Former President Obama has shared that his vision for the center is for the structure to serve as a platform that would train a new generation of leaders.
Photo via: Michelle Obama
Simas went on to share, "The development of the Obama Presidential Center gives us an opportunity to make a major, unprecedented impact on the South Side in terms of hiring talented, local businesses and individuals. We look forward to working with Lakeside Alliance to achieve our goals, set new benchmarks and make the Obama Presidential Center a landmark that our neighbors can be proud of."
The Lakeside Alliance has promised to employ minority workers and those who live in surrounding areas for the project. With this consideration, the project represents a way that the companies and those local to the site of the project may give back to their community. Ground will be broken on this historic project later this year.