Obama Library to be built by minority-led firms

AP Photo/Steve Helber

The long-anticipated Obama Library will be built by a minority construction firm according to the Obama Foundation.

According to a CBS2 report, Jimmy Akintode runs a construction firm of 16 years. His largest contract was $60 million — and now, he is joining forces with three other African-American firms to form the Presidential Partners association.

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According to the news outlet, the venture will handle the $300 million construction of the Obama Presidential Center.

According to a vice president at the Obama Foundation, the choice to have the companies – who did not have the experience to win the bid – build the institution in the Woodlawn neighborhood was an easy choice, the news outlet reported.

“One, they’re talented,” Mike Strautmanis said to CBS. “We know they’ve been involved in other construction projects around the city and the Midwest, so between them all we knew they could handle the complexity.”

The former president Obama himself was said to sign off on the dream team and Mike says the choice was part of the president’s commitment to Chicago, according to the news outlet.

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“We want to set the stage for a new model,” Mike said to CBS. “The new model is you don’t have to have a white firm with minority partners on the side. You want to have real diversity: minority firms in the lead with a seat at the table.”

According to the news outlet, construction is set to begin by the end of the year starting on the west side of Jackson Park. The Center is set to open in the year 2020.

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