Returning Chicago’s Most Famous Community Organizer to His Community

Drawing of the potential Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum at Chicago Lakeside.

Drawing of the potential Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum at Chicago Lakeside. (We hate to borrow a picture from the Sun-Times, but it’s just not available ANYWHERE else, so we’re going to have to cry “fair use” on this one.)

There are more than a dozen cities, institutions, schools, and private organizations currently engaged in a bungee-cord tug-of-war, with the winner landing the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  No matter where it ends up, it will have a huge economic, social, and tourism impact for the winner, which is why places from New York to Hawaii are trying to get in on the action.

Not surprisingly, several sites are here in Mr. Obama’s adopted home town of Chicago. And for some reason one of those sites ended up splashed across the front page of the Sun-Times this week.  So, why does the plan at Chicago Lakeside justify so much free publicity?  In part, because most of the other participants in the process are very tight-lipped about their proposals.

Did somebody say "coupons?"

Did somebody say “coupons?”

Chicago developer Dan McCaffery has decided to go the opposite route, and that’s why we see a drawing of the potential library by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill just below a yellow starburst promising “Huge coupon savings inside!”

It’s a splendid design.  And if you’re not familiar with Chicago Lakeside, think of it as “The Loop 2.0.”  McCaffery plans to do to the former U.S. Steel site on 79th Street what Magellan Development did for the former train yard that is now Lakeshore East.  Except on a much, much bigger scale.  A scale so big that when complete, and if successful, some are talking about it having enough gravity to shift the focus of commerce and culture in Chicago back to the South Side where it once was.  Imagine the North Side as the new South Side.  And vice versa.

We won’t rehash the Sun-Times article here.  And chances are, if you were into reading, you’ve already read it by now.  So enjoy watching this Sun-Times video about the Chicago Lakeside development, followed by two (local) star-studded promotional videos by Chicago Lakeside.

Chicago Sun-Times video


Chicago Lakeside promotional videos

Chicago Lakeside - Imagine from Chicago Lakeside Development on Vimeo.


Imagine: Chicago Lakeside Development from Chicago Lakeside Development on Vimeo.


Location: Future Chicago Lakeside area


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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