The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Obama Presidential Library Sites Narrowed: U of C, UIC Named as Finalists

By Sam Cholke | September 15, 2014 2:41pm | Updated on September 15, 2014 2:49pm
 Two Chicago universities are being considered as sites for the Obama Presidential Library.
Two Chicago universities are being considered as sites for the Obama Presidential Library.
View Full Caption

CHICAGO — Two Chicago universities are finalists in the running to land the Obama Presidential Library, the Barack Obama Foundation announced Monday.

The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago were among four universities asked to make a detailed proposal to the foundation.

The U. of C. has released few details about its plan, but said it wants it to be off-campus in a neighboring community.

UIC has pitched three sites on the Near West and West Sides.

The proposal due on Dec. 11 must include a specific site for the library and copious documentation on the conditions of the site, benefits to the surrounding communities, the university's willingness to commit academic and financial resources to the project and other information.

“Today’s news affirms our strong belief that the library could be transformative for the heart of the South Side, bringing new economic and cultural opportunities to all of Chicago,” said University fo Chicago President Robert Zimmer. “We will move forward with a bid that honors the rich history and traditions of the South Side and the promising future of our city.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been very vocal about wanting the library here, but two other locations are also in the running: Columbia University in New York and the University of Hawaii, the foundation said Monday.

"These four potential partners have come the farthest in meeting our criteria and have each demonstrated a strong vision for the future Obama Presidential Library," Board Chair Martin Nesbitt said in a statement. "We look forward to working with each institution to further refine their proposals over the coming months, and to presenting our recommendations to the President and First Lady early next year.”

Once the foundation has the formal proposals, the board will look them over and share their recommendations with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who will ultimately decide the location.

The new shortlist of sites for the library knocks out several locations not associated with a college or univeristy, including 48 acre vacant lot that was once the home of Michael Reese Hospital on the south lakefront.

Bronzeville residents had hoped to get the library to the former hospital site to head-off any future development of a casino on the land. The city owes $91 million for the 2009 purchase of the property during the failed bid for the 2016 Olympics.

The library list also knocks out 600 acres of vacant land at the former U.S. Steel South Works site. The property developer, Dan McCaffery of McCaffery Interests, imagined hydrofoils from Navy Pier down to the new neighborhood and the Obama library.

A bid by Chicago State University was also abruptly ended by Monday's announcement.

A final recommendation will be made by the foundation in early 2015, with a decision by the president expected shortly after.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: