In the ongoing quest to find a home for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, a spot on Chicago’s lakefront has been recommended. The location is a parking lot on the museum campus, alongside the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium.
Last month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel assembled a task force whose purpose was to find a suitable venue that met the needs of the proposed museum. The task force met privately with Lucas to discuss “his vision for the museum, warehouse, art collection, and endowment valued at $1 billion.” The criteria set forth by George Lucas was clear:
“The Star Wars creator, who is married to Chicago businesswoman Mellody Hobson, said he wanted his museum to be close to water, enveloped by nature and centrally-located. He talked about enhancing the green space around it by taking much of the museum parking underground.”
A source close to the issue had this to say:
“This guy really wants to do this [in Chicago]. San Francisco hogtied him that much. And this site really is the best Chicago has to offer,” said a source close to the negotiations.”
That being said, San Francisco has stepped up efforts to lure the museum back. Lucas originally wanted to build on Crissy Field in the Presidio, but his proposals were rejected three times by the Presidio Trust. Now, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is putting forth a waterfront location as a possible home for the museum. The Mayor even took out a full-page ad asking Lucas to consider his proposal, and a petition has the support of politicians such as Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
However, it would seem that Chicago’s chances look really good right now. Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, is a local businesswoman and, over the last year, the couple has donated $50 million to Chicago area educational programs. The city is very much a second home to Lucas and his family.
The parking lot recommended by the task force is one that is located south of Soldier Field, home to the Chicago Bears. Tailgaters aren’t happy. 😉
You can find out more details here: Chicago Tribune