Updated 05/12/15 – 6:51 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama confirmed a decision that has been clear for nearly two weeks early Tuesday, as they announced online the Obama presidential library is coming to “Sweet Home Chicago.”
“All the strands of my life came together, and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago. 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,” President Obama said in a YouTube video. “And the people there, the community, the lessons that I learned, they’re all based right in this few square miles where we’ll be able to now give something back and bring the world back home after this incredible journey.”
After a competitive run against three other universities, the University of Chicago won the bid for the Barack Obama Presidential Center.
Obama Foundation chairman Marty Nesbitt acknowledged the competition for the library was always Chicago’s to lose, but he said the foundation still wants a relationship with the three finalists that were not chosen – the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Hawaii.
The decision has been known for nearly two weeks, as sources close to the selection process revealed in late April that the South Side would get the facility.
The complex, officially named the Barack Obama Presidential Center, was expected to cost more than $500 million, funded by private donations to the Barack Obama Foundation.
Nesbitt said the library complex could open as soon as 2020, but first the foundation must choose a specific location, and an architect. He said it’s too early to know if the library would be built in Washington Park or Jackson Park, the two sites proposed by the University of Chicago.
“We have a lot of work to do to figure that out. We think they’re both terrific sites. There’s just some physical due diligence that needs to be done; from a real estate perspective on the land, and conditions,” he said. “Provided that that process ends up with both sites being equal, then there will be some qualitative issues that we’ll have to figure out.”