By Ryan Velez
The Obama Presidential Center will cost around $350 million to make, and Black Enterprise reports that it may be Black-owned constructions firms that stand to make the most money. Those businesses—the Presidential Partners consortium of Powers & Sons Construction, UJAMAA Construction, Brown & Momen, and Safeway Construction—are part of the Lakeside Alliance joint venture chosen by the Obama Foundation to serve as the construction manager for the OPC to be built on Chicago’s South Side.
The Foundation will provide the firms with a 51% stake, while Turner will get a 49% stake. This marks one of the first times Black firms will get such an opportunity to play a major role.
“The Obama Foundation believes in creating opportunities for diverse and local businesses and building pathways to meaningful jobs for minorities and other underrepresented populations,” stated David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation.
“The development of the Obama Presidential Center gives us an opportunity to make a major, unprecedented impact on the South Side in terms of hiring talented, local businesses and individuals. We look forward to working with Lakeside Alliance to achieve our goals, set new benchmarks and make the Obama Presidential Center a landmark that our neighbors can be proud of.”
The Lakeside Alliance was chosen after proposals came from several other companies. Roark Frankel, director of planning and construction for the Obama Foundation, stated “Lakeside Alliance stood out, first, because they’re excellent builders. But what impressed us most was their passionate and thoughtful commitment to infuse diversity and inclusion into every aspect of this project, at levels far beyond what has been done in Chicago for projects of this size and complexity.” These values are at the heart of what the Obama Foundation wants to accomplish in all its work and initiatives, including constructing the Obama Presidential Center.”
He added, “One of the reasons we made this decision almost a year before we hope to begin construction is that we are eager to begin partnering with Lakeside Alliance to start the hard work of making sure that the local community and businesses are very much a part of this project and process.”
One Lakeside Alliance member, Jimmy Akintonde, CEO of UJAMAA Construction Inc., provided this statement on OPC. “The Obama Presidential Center will be a historic project for the South Side and greater Chicago community and embodies the Obama Foundation’s commitment to hiring diverse talent. This is a game-changing opportunity for our firm and we are honored to be a part of this joint venture.”