George Lucas Shifts Sights to California After Museum Rejected in Chicago

George Lucas Shifts Sights to California After Museum Rejected in Chicago


George Lucas

“Fortune” reported that on June 27, 2016, George Lucas officially abandoned his plans to build his museum in Chicago, Illinois, after it was rejected by a lobbying group. This rejection forced him to shift his sights to California. A parks protection group, known as Friends of Parks, opposed Lucas’ plan from the beginning. The “San Francisco Chronicle” explained Lucas now wants to build the Museum of Narrative Art alongside the San Francisco Bay.

Lucas argued the museum will not solely focus on his Star Wars accomplishments but will include exhibits from all of his projects over his lengthy career. It is believed he has set his sights on Treasure Island within the San Francisco Bay. The island can only be reached by the Bay Bridge, which unfortunately suffers daily from extreme rush hour traffic. Choosing a location is just as important as the interior and exterior architecture of the building.

In Chicago, Lucas hired Chinese architect Ma Yansong. Ma utilized a futuristic flair and added a mountainous landscape to line the shores of Lake Michigan. The architecture of the building was approved but Lucas was looking for a waterfront location. He was successful at finding a location but the empty lot he chose to build the Museum of Narrative Art is near Soldiers Field. Bears’ fans use that lot as additional space to tailgate during football season.

The location in California will be the third attempt by Lucas to build his legacy museum. Lucas shifted his sights to California, after his museum was, not only rejected in Chicago, but was rejected by Presidio in Jacksonville, Florida. The “Chicago Tribune” reported, Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Lucas’ decision to end the Chicago museum project on June 27. Additionally, Mayor Emanuel argued, Friends of Parks were obstructionists who blocked a job-creating project.

Friends of Parks filed a lawsuit because they felt the project violated the public trust doctrine. The violations of the doctrine were associated with the fact the museum would benefit a private interest more than the interests of Illinois residents. Additionally, they argued the museum would tarnish Chicago’s lakefront.

San Francisco was Lucas’ first proposed location but allowed the attraction from other cities to sway his decision. Since the museum was rejected by Chicago, he shifted his sights to California. Los Angeles and San Francisco are two of the proposed locations. Mayor Emanuel stated he was interested in maintaining his relationship with Lucas. He was quite active in the city and helped those in need within the Chicago community.

It was argued, Lucas was only generous toward the city of Chicago, since 2013, to gain support for his museum. Mayor Emanuel suggested there was no amount of lobbying Lucas could have done to stop Friends of Parks from filing their lawsuit. It is clear it was this lawsuit, which forced Lucas to shift his sights to California, after his project was rejected in Chicago.

Reverend Leon Finney, a pastor of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church, expressed his disappointment with the loss of Lucas’ museum. He knew how many construction and high wage positions the project could have brought to the city of Chicago. It has been determined that the San Francisco location for Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art should consider all of the possible complaints of the community before moving forward with any plans.

One suggestion provided, involved adding a ferry service to take museum visitors to and from San Francisco and Oakland. This service would limit the impact of the museum on the current ferry and bridge congestion. It was also suggested the price of the ferry ride should be incorporated in the admission price for the Museum of Narrative Art.

By Kristina Lasher
Edited by Jeanette Smith


San Francisco Chronicle: How George Lucas can make his museum work in S.F.
Fortune: George Lucas Has Abandoned Plans to Build a Museum in Chicago
Chicago Tribune: Emanuel defends Lucas’ decision to ditch Chicago as museum site

Image Courtesy of raymond twist’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License