Rendering: Mad Architects
While the plan was to build the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago, that attempt has been thwarted by a lawsuit and Lucas is now reconsidering California. Lucas had previously looked at Los Angeles and San Francisco, but chose Chicago over both in 2014.
The reason for all the fuss? In November 2014, Chicago non-profit Friends of the Parks filed a lawsuit regarding the museum. The proposed location was a lakefront parking lot, and concerns were raised over the fact that it would have been a private establishment built on public land. At the end of June, Lucas dropped his bid to build in the city.
“It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of several alternative sites that is not on Chicago’s lakefront,” Juanita Irizarry and Lauren Moltz of Friends of the Parks said in a joint statement. “That would been the true win-win.”
Chicago was Lucas’ first choice for the museum partially because it’s the hometown of his wife, Mellody Hobson.
Luckily for California residents, George Lucas is now back to looking at putting the museum in Los Angeles or on San Francisco’s Treasure Island.
Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, is a heavy advocate for the museum to be in his home city. “We would welcome the opportunity to be a permanent home for this incredible collection, which would become part of a museum culture that is unrivalled in the United States,” he has been quoted as saying.
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee is also gunning for the museum to be on his home turf. Deirdre Hussey, a spokeswoman for the mayor, told The San Francisco Chronicle, “the mayor and the Board of Supervisors are working closely with the Lucas team to have a home for his world-class collection on Treasure Island.”
The addition would be a huge boon for San Francisco, as Lucas intends to pay for all costs himself, including infrastructure improvements, such as ferry service from Treasure Island to San Francisco. Regardless, Treasure Island is about to be in a major state of flux over the next few years with commercial and residential upgrades.
If built in San Francisco, the museum’s design will need to change a little. While a largely windowless building was planned for Chicago, a Treasure Island museum would be designed to give visitors views of San Francisco and the bay.
Fingers crossed that the Force is with San Francisco.