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Obama Presidential Center Could Bring In Billions for Chicago’s Economy, Support Thousands of Jobs

The Barack Obama Presidential Center is expected to generate thousands of new jobs in South Side Chicago and surrounding areas. (Image courtesy of

Former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Center is slated to do more for Chicago’s South Side than originally thought.

In a press release Thursday, May 11, the Obama Foundation estimated that the proposed center would “support 4,945 direct, indirect and induced jobs created during the construction phase and 2,536 direct, indirect and induced jobs after the Center opens.” An analysis of the center’s potential economic impact predicted that it could earn nearly $3.1 billion for the city during its construction and first 10 years of operation.

Last week, the former president attended the center’s design and site plan unveiling where he suggested that his foundation expected roughly 600,000 to 700,000 annual visitors at the OPC, Curbed Chicago reported. However, the Obama Foundation’s latest estimate puts those numbers slightly higher at 625,000 to 760,000 yearly visitors.

The foundation also projected that the project’s construction would rake in $16.5 million in “indirect and induced” state and local tax revenue. And afterward? The analysis estimates the OPC will earn Cook County $5.9 million post-construction, according to a press release.

“President and Mrs. Obama chose to develop the Obama Presidential Center in the heart of Chicago’s South Side because it is the neighborhood they call home and the place that they believed they could have the most impact,” said David Simas,CEO of the Obama Foundation. “The OPC will create new jobs and opportunities in the community, strengthen the economic climate and revitalize historic Jackson Park. This analysis helps quantify the impact we can expect the OPC to bring to the community, the City, and the State.”

Toni Prekwinkle, President of the Cook County Board, echoed Simas’ sentiments about the presidential center’s economic impact.

“As a longtime resident of the South Side, I believe the Obama Presidential Center will give a solid economic boost to not just the immediate area in and around the facility, but adjacent, underdeveloped neighborhoods,” Prekwinkle said in a statement.

“We look forward to the new opportunities that will be created by this exciting project.”

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