Obama Center to Create $2.1 Billion in Economic Impact for South Side

Obama Center to Create $2.1 Billion in Economic Impact for South Side

The Obama Presidential Center could generate $2.1 billion in economic impact for Chicago's South Side during its construction and first decade of operation, a report from the Obama Foundation estimates.

To be built on a site in Jackson Park, the center, which is expected to host 625,000 to 760,000 visitors a year, could create 1,400 jobs and generate $86 million in additional income for South Side residents during construction, as well as nearly 2,200 jobs and $81 million annually in additional income in the decade after it opens. According to the economic impact report (fact sheet, 4 pages, PDF), the center also could generate $339 million for South Side businesses during construction and $177 million annually after that. Considering Cook County as a whole, the center could generate, directly and indirectly, close to 5,000 jobs and $296 million in additional income during construction, and more than 2,500 jobs and $104 million annually after that.

The report further suggests that the construction phase will result in $16.5 million in state and local tax revenue, and $5.9 million in annual tax revenue over the first decade of its operation. The center's benefit to the community will include improved public transportation and infrastructure; mixed-use developments that incorporate affordable housing, commercial, and public spaces; and enhanced arts and culture offerings in connection with the Arts Block Initiative, a collaboration between the University of Chicago and Washington Park. The university has announced that it plans to build a 180-room hotel on its campus a block from the site of the future center, DNAinfo reports.

"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 they believed they could have the most impact," said Obama Foundation CEO David Simas. "By bringing thousands of visitors to the South Side every year, the OPC will create new jobs and opportunities in the community, strengthen the economic climate, and revitalize historic Jackson Park."