June 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit targeting the location of the planned Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's South Side.
U.S. District Judge John Blakey said construction on the structure should begin immediately.
Advocacy group Protect Our Parks led a group of plaintiffs who sued to challenge the city's decision to build the center on 19.3 acres of public land in Jackson Park to build a private building that promotes former President Barack Obama's political views.
The organization attempted to halt construction citing the Public Trust Doctrine, but Blakey said that since the land is not submerged or formerly submerged land, the special protections don't apply.
Protect Our Parks said it plans to appeal the dismissal.
Charles Birnbaum of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, which is a consulting party in the federal historic review of the land, said he was disappointed with the ruling.
"Though the carefully orchestrated local approvals process has been enabled by pliant municipal officials, there are still federal-level reviews underway for this nationally significant work of landscape architecture that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places," he told Curbed.
Obama, appearing at a community meeting in Chicago in February 2018, said the presidential center would create jobs and attract businesses to the neighborhood. He downplayed concerns about increased housing costs that could stem from the project.
"A lot of times, people get nervous about gentrification and understandably so," Obama said. "It is not my experience ... that the big problem on the South Side has been too much development, too much economic activity, too many people being displaced because all these folks from Lincoln Park are filling in to the South Side. That's not what's happening."
The Obama Foundation unveiled the conceptual design for the center in May 2017, a 200,000-square-foot complex that includes a museum, forum, library and outdoor gathering areas. It will also serve as the headquarters for the Obama Foundation.