George Lucas looking for alternative museum sites as Chicago plan unravels

by Tom Anstey | 04 May 2016

After nearly two years of legal wrangling, George Lucas looks to have given up on Chicago as a viable option for his Museum of Narrative Art, with the filmmaker’s wife saying they were “seriously pursuing” alternative locations.

With more installments than his famous Star Wars films, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art saga reached a significant landmark in February when a judge ruled in favour of legal action taken by Friends of the Parks, meaning its lawsuit against the project would go to trial.

"In refusing to accept the extraordinary public benefits of the museum, the Friends of the Parks has proven itself to be no friend of Chicago," said Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, in a statement. "We are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago."

Los Angeles or San Francisco would be likely favourites for a new location, with both expressing strong interest in hosting Lucas’s legacy project when it was first revealed in 2013. At the time, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti offered a site in Exposition Park, the equivalent to Chicago’s Museum Campus and home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee also made a proposal to Lucas to build the museum on a 2.3 acre site owned by the Port of San Francisco, situated along the Embarcadero (eastern waterfront).

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has strongly backed the project, which he says would create jobs and expand cultural opportunities, most recently proposing an alternative lakefront site on the grounds of the McCormick Place convention centre. But Friends of the Parks declared its opposition to the plan, threatening another lawsuit and seemingly striking the killing blow for the Chicago plans.

"We do oppose the deal that's on the table," said Friends of the Parks’ executive director, Juanita Irizarry, speaking to The Chicago Tribune. "We maintain there should not be development on the lakefront."

George Lucas  Museum of Narrative Art  Gallery  Museum  Rahm Emanuel  Chicago  Los Angeles  San francisco  Mellody Hobson 
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After nearly two years of legal wrangling, George Lucas looks to have given up on Chicago as a viable option for his Museum of Narrative Art, with the filmmaker’s wife saying they were “seriously pursuing” alternative locations. With more installments than his famous Star Wars films, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art saga reached a significant landmark in February when a judge ruled in favour of legal action taken by
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Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson said they were 'seriously pursuing' locations outside of Chicago / Shutterstock.com
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