Lucas saga continues as judge rejects dismissal of museum lawsuit

by Tom Anstey | 12 Nov 2015

Despite George Lucas’s museum project being given the go ahead with amended plans allowing more green space, a federal judge chose this week not to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks to halt the development. This means the group now has time to respond to Chicago officials’ attempts to bring an end to the drawn-out legal proceedings.

The development – which sits on parkland on Chicago’s waterfront – has been approved by the Chicago City Council and the Chicago Park District, which have both signed an agreement to lease 17 acres for the development.

The site will showcase George Lucas’s art and film collection inside a 300,000sq ft (27,870sq m) museum. In addition, the plans will create 200,000sq ft (18,600sq m) of parkland improvements, which will feature theatres, a library and a public observation deck.

The legal team representing the city say they want the judge to rule on the motion to dismiss before making anyone available for deposition, with the ruling hinging on whether the museum project is a transfer of public property and whether it benefits the public.

Friends of the Parks have questioned the ground lease agreement, also adding that they want to depose officials with the Park District and the group formed to run the museum, arguing that the project violates the public trust doctrine because the land should be protected and preserved for public use.

Presiding judge, John Darrah, set the next court date for 4 February 2016. Officials at the Museum of Narrative Art have said they want to break ground on the project in late Q1 2016, but a court order prevents any construction until the dispute has been settled.

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Despite George Lucas’s museum project being given the go ahead with amended plans allowing more green space, a federal judge chose this week not to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks to halt the development. This means the group now has time to respond to Chicago officials’ attempts to bring an end to the drawn-out legal proceedings. The development – which sits on parkland on Chicago’s waterfront
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George Lucas will have to wait until at least February for work on his legacy project to begin
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