Obama presidential library to be located in Chicago

Washington CNN  — 

The Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum will be located in Chicago, two people familiar with the decision confirmed to CNN, with an official announcement coming in May.

President Barack Obama has notified Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois lawmakers who were instrumental in lining up the financing and real estate for the presidential library to be built on the city’s South Side.

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The decision, while not surprising, comes as a relief to Chicago officials.

The city had initially struggled to present a unified plan for the library, prompting speculation that the Obama Foundation would ultimately choose Columbia University in New York City or the University of Hawaii in Honolulu for the library’s location.

But the financing and real estate plan have come together, officials said, and will be announced in Chicago in May.

Emanuel, who served as the first chief of staff in the Obama administration, made the presidential library a central part of his re-election bid to be mayor. Democratic lawmakers in Springfield have introduced legislation to give the city legal authority to have a private museum or library built on public lands.

The University of Hawaii in Honolulu, the city of Obama’s birth, also had been a finalist. But the deck had long been stacked in favor of Chicago, his adopted hometown that fostered his political rise from state legislator to U.S. senator to President.

The decision was reached by the Barack Obama Foundation, a group led by the President’s longtime friend and Chicago businessman Marty Nesbitt. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama ultimately signed off on the decision.