CHICAGO: “Star Wars” creator George Lucas is pulling his art museum project out of Chicago in favor of a California location after he ran into legal challenges from an open-spaces group in Chicago, he said on Friday.
Lucas blasted the parks group that had sued to stop the building of the museum on the Lake Michigan shore in an area that is currently a parking lot for a sports arena.
“No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot,” he said in a statement from the museum.
Lucas did not specify which city in California he is looking at, but a source with knowledge of the search said the two options are San Francisco or Los Angeles. The source asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak publicly on the search.
Friends of the Parks, the group that filed suit last year to stop the museum project, argued the museum would be an eyesore on the waterfront and that it violated public use policy governing development on the shore of Lake Michigan.
“It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of the several alternative sites that are not on Chicago’s lakefront,” Friends of the Parks Executive Director Juanita Irizarry said in a statement.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the museum would bring jobs, investment and tourism to Chicago. He lamented Lucas’ decision, which came after he and other political leaders had tried to negotiate with the parks group to find an alternate site.
“Chicago’s loss will be another city’s gain,” Rahm said in a statement. He said the city was losing a $1.5 billion gift.
The proposed museum would feature exhibitions of Lucas’ collection of paintings, illustrations and digital art from the blockbuster “Star Wars” movie franchise he started in 1977.
The Chicago location was announced in 2014 and approved by Chicago’s City Council, the park district, planning commission and state officials.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti immediately stepped up his quest to woo the museum to his city with a statement saying: “The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art would be perfect for Los Angeles.”
Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, is one of the main drivers of the project and was very interested in putting the museum in Chicago, her hometown.
Courtesy : TheNews