- In the wake of the Chicago Department of Transportation's decision not to issue a permit for the relocation of utilities at the future site of the Obama Presidential Center pending federal review, city officials have decided to temporarily halt construction of the project, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Since the site, Jackson Park, is on the National Register of Historic Places, planned road projects are under review by the Federal Highway Administration to ensure compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, and a National Park Service assessment will decide whether the project meets the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The city had already decided to slow down construction of a replacement track field given the increased federal scrutiny. The park district had also come under fire for cutting down trees at the site before receiving required approvals and in contradiction to an Obama Foundation promise not to do so before the permitting process was complete.
- The city council must still give its final approval for the ordinance authorizing the presidential center, and a hearing is set to take place on Sept. 20 regarding a federal lawsuit brought by park activists that aims to scuttle the project altogether. Officials said the only work taking place on the site for the time being will be the safe demobilization of construction crews and equipment, a process that could take several days.
While Protect Our Parks and other activists have their day in federal court on Thursday, the Chicago City Council is set to review an ordinance, according to Crain's Chicago Business, that would see the city enter into a 99-year lease agreement with the Obama Foundation for use of the presidential center site in exchange for a $10 fee.
The construction team charged with building the center, the Lakeside Alliance, has set a procurement schedule for the project, giving local contractors plenty of time to decide if they want to submit a bid.
The alliance, which consists of Turner Construction, Ujamaa Construction, Safeway Construction, Powers & Sons Construction and Brown & Momen, plans on starting construction in the first half of next year. It also has scheduled the awarding of site, utilities and geothermal contracts for the first and second quarters of 2019; caisson and mass excavation contracts for the second and third quarters of 2019; the primary structural contract for the first quarter of 2020; architectural, MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection), landscaping façade and remaining trades for the first and second quarters of 2020, with completion scheduled for 2022.
The alliance said it has committed to creating participation opportunities for small-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses.