Chicago’s Deal for Obama Center: 99 Years for $10

A detailed site plan for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park | Obama Presidential Center
A detailed site plan for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park | Obama Presidential Center

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration will send the City Council two ordinances on Thursday to seal a 99-year deal to build the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

City Hall officials involved in the negotiations with the Obama Presidential Foundation briefed reporters on Tuesday with the actual written legislation not available because it was still being finalized.

One of the ordinances includes the agreements between the foundation and the city, which includes the foundation paying the city $10 for the 99-year pact; the other ordinance clears the legal way to plow under Cornell Drive from 59th Street to Hayes Drive to be reconfigured as green space on the Obama campus. The closing of Cornell has been controversial.

Last May and June, the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council approved the zoning and authorized the Obama development under the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection ordinance.

“This is the next step in a process that has been ongoing for years,” Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman said.

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SOURCE: Lynn Sweet
The Chicago Sun-Times