After months of debate and controversy, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art announced this Friday the abandoning of their plans to build MAD’s Lucas Museum proposal in Chicago. On a statement on his Facebook page said the director of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones, George Lucas, that he would change his plans as he started exploring a new site on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.
The initial plans called for the museum to be built on land owned by the Chicago Park District south of Soldier Field. The Park District was going to lease the land to George Lucas for $10 over 99 years, with a two-time option to renew. However, the first proposal of the project has received a lot of critics from environmental activists and it has been on hold since November 2014, when the group “Friends of the Parks” filed a federal lawsuit blocking construction, arguing that the museum plans violate the public trust doctrine, benefit a private interest more than the state’s residents and tarnish the city’s lakefront. The federal court allowed the lawsuit to proceed, stating that the group adequately stated a claim.
The city of Chicago then filed a motion in federal appeals court decision, essentially asking a panel of judges to toss out the park group’s lawsuit, which would clear the way for the project. The project had all necessary city and state approvals. The appeals court had not yet ruled on the city’s motion.
The building is set to occupy an existing parking lot, and will incorporate an underground garage, to replace them. The building Ma Yonson has designed, is reminiscent of an elegant factory funnel, with a modern approach and a smooth, finished surface, at least that’s what we get from the renderings. The materials that will be used for the facade have not been chosen yet.
In the statement, Lucas thanked Chicago and Illinois officials for their efforts to bring the project to the Midwest. “No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot,” filmmaker George Lucas said. “The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government.”
“We are deeply appreciative to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Bruce Rauner and countless others for all the time and effort they invested in trying to secure the museum for Chicago,” Lucas explained “While Chicago will not be home to the museum, my wife and I will continue to enthusiastically support a wide variety of educational and cultural activities throughout the city.”
The initial plans called for the museum to be built on land owned by the Chicago Park District south of Soldier Field. The Park District was going to lease the land to Lucas for $10 over 99 years, with a two-time option to renew. Labor groups and pastors from neighborhoods south and west of the proposed museum became vocal supporters of the Lucas plan in recent weeks, holding rallies at the parking lot site and outside Friends’ Loop offices. The mayor’s office touted the project as a jobs creator and tourism draw.