Obama's presidential library estimated to cost nearly $700M

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The cost of former President Obama’s library in Chicago will be a bit heftier than initially anticipated. 

Valerie Jarrett, president of The Obama Foundation, said during an interview with The Economic Club of Chicago last week that the informal presidential library will cost slightly “less than” $700 million – $200 million more than an initial estimate of $500 million. 

“We are in the process of raising the capital for the building,” Jarrett said during the June 4 interview, adding that the Obama Foundation has raised nearly $900 million so far for The Obama Presidential Center and wants to raise an additional $400 million from Chicago.

Excess funds will go toward the foundation’s “program” and to “create an endowment,” the former Obama adviser said. 

The library is expected to generate $3.1 billion in revenue, which will benefit local businesses, she continued.

The charitable organization and former president want people to feel “ownership” in the center, which aims to bring people in Chicago’s South Side together as a community, Jarrett said. 

Obama told the Economic Club in an April 4 interview that he envisions the library as both a cultural and teaching institution, as well as a museum, in the city “at a time when Chicago, like much of the country, sometimes feels divided,” he said.

The foundation is planning a groundbreaking by this fall. 

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