Chicago, New York, Hawaii on Obama library’s short list

This Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 photo shows one possible location in Kakaako for the Barack Obama Presidential Library. The location is considered prime real estate with views of the ocean and Koolau mountains. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chicago, New York and Honolulu have made the short list to host Barack Obama’s future presidential library.

The Barack Obama Foundation, which is developing and raising money for the massive legacy project, announced Monday that it has selected four universities to compete for the library, culled from an initial list of 13 applications submitted earlier this year. The University of Hawaii, in Obama’s birthplace Honolulu, made the cut, as did New York’s Columbia University. The University of Chicago, where Obama used to teach, and the University of Illinois at Chicago round out the list.

The four institutions will now have until December to submit formal, in-depth proposals detailing their vision for the library. The foundation’s board plans to vet those proposals before presenting their recommendations in early 2015 to the president and first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas will then make the final decision.

“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,” said Marty Nesbitt, Obama’s longtime friend and the board’s chairman.

Who didn’t make the cut? A handful of other Chicago-based groups, including activists in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, a cultural landmark for African-Americans. Another bid from advocates who wanted to build the library at the former U.S. Steel South Works site alongside Lake Michigan.

Building the library, which will house the repository for Obama’s presidential records and artifacts, is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and will serve as a permanent monument to Obama’s legacy. If other presidential libraries are a guide, there may be an accompanying presidential center, foundation or policy institute that could help Obama and coordinate humanitarian efforts and other activities after leaving office.

In its initial “request for qualifications” in March, the foundation laid out the specification the National Archives and Records Administration will need to accommodate Obama’s records, including more than 20,000 cubic feet of unclassified documents, 804 cubic feet of audio-visual records and 15 thousand cubic feet for artifacts — a space about as large as the Oval Office.

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