Lucas Museum case will go to trial following judge ruling

by Tom Anstey | 05 Feb 2016

The Lucas Museum saga continues to rumble on after a judge ruled in favour of legal action taken by Friends of the Parks, meaning its lawsuit against the project will go to trial next month.

Friends of the Parks argues that the US$400m (€357.5m, £275.1m) project – which will house George Lucas’s personal art collection, as well as providing temporary exhibition space for world-renowned artists and filmmakers – is violating public trust laws that restrict development along Chicago’s lakefront. A federal judge yesterday (4 February) refused the city’s request to throw the lawsuit out.

The delay is the latest in a long legal battle which stretches back to the project's announcement in June 2014. The disputed land, which is currently parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place, will host a 300,000sq ft (27,870sq m) museum, with 200,000sq ft (18,600sq m) of parkland improvements featuring theatres, a library and a public observation deck.

The green space advocates will now be able to move forward with depositions of City of Chicago and Chicago Park District. During the hearing, the judge ruled that the Lucas Museum project would not be able to break ground until the matter has been resolved. Friends of the Parks has said it doesn’t oppose the museum itself, rather the location.

“We stand on the shoulders of Chicago entrepreneur of a century ago – Aaron Montgomery Ward – who made the protection of our lakefront his labour of love,” said Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks. “He spent many decades and a small fortune saving Grant Park from development, yet his efforts were not widely appreciated in his time.

“Regardless of the Lucas Museum outcome, we will honour this legacy and continue to push back against development along Chicago’s lakefront, so that many more generations to come will know this jewel that, unfortunately, so many take for granted.”

Both parties will reconvene for the trial date, which has been set for 14 March.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art  George Lucas  Friends of the Parks  Chicago Park District  Star Wars  Indiana Jones 
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The Lucas Museum saga continues to rumble on after a judge ruled in favour of legal action taken by Friends of the Parks, meaning its lawsuit against the project will go to trial next month. Friends of the Parks argues that the US$400m (€357.5m, £275.1m) project – which will house George Lucas’s personal art collection, as well as providing temporary exhibition space for world-renowned artists and filmmakers – is violating
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George Lucas's legacy project continues to be delayed thanks to efforts by Friends of the Parks / shutterstock.com
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