Lucas Cultural Arts Museum 2016 Design

While George Lucas is growing increasingly frustrated by opposition to any redevelopment of Chicago’s lakefront in order to accommodate the building of his proposed Lucas Cultural Museum, a museum which was originally intended to be built in San Francisco and is now being waylaid anew by legal challenges from “Friends of the Parks,” Lucas hasn’t abandoned his plans for building the museum in Chicago.

While it’s true that Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, has been widely quoted as noting that they are now “seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago,” Hobson’s full statement isn’t as definitive as some have suggested.

“In refusing to accept the extraordinary public benefits of the museum, the Friends of the Parks has proven itself to be no friend of Chicago,” Hobson said. “We are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago. If the museum is forced to leave, it will be because of the Friends of the Parks and that is no victory for anyone.”

That’s a big if and rifts between the Friends have been forming as the City has shifted the proposed location for the Museum a little to the south.

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum Chicago: New Site

Also noted by Hobson, “this process has been co-opted and hijacked by a small special interest group,” which could have been cut and pasted from a 2014-era press release.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    That design is sooooo 40 years ago!

  2. Posted by david m.

    rahm’s plan b won’t fly because it means taking on over a billion in debt. it’s a convoluted scheme involving a convention center, deed transfer, debt and still more lawsuits.

    no idea what’ll happen, don’t understand why lucas didn’t just go the don fisher way and build in the city somewhere. his obsession with having a grandiose monument in a park may well end up with him visiting his museum in miami or san diego, rather than some place he knows and spends time.

    maybe he’ll buy a block somewhere in los angeles and build it there, there are loads of parking lots from hollywood to westwood. even santa monica. or buy up that plot on the corner of grove and van ness and make a big museum at the civic center here.

    any decent city will have nimbys fighting to keep the waterfront pristine and full of parking lots.

    • Posted by david m.

      again, the sf proposal i could see, it wasn’t very interesting and would have added traffic (oh no! traffic!) but the chicago proposal was an amazing gift to the city. very hard to believe that a group of nimbys would be so short-sighted, it’s really something else.

      anyway, apparently lucas has already suggested that the next city is los angeles. i’m pretty confident that he’ll find the right spot there. he can choose from downtown, hollywood, miracle mile, westwood, and loads of other places. there are several huge lots around grand and 1st, he could snap one up and build near disney and the broad with no problem at all. keep the MAD design and everything.

      • Posted by Alex740

        I understand the push back in Chicago (I lived there for 25 years). It’s not NIMBYism, its protection of the waterfront open space where no permanent structures (current are grandfathered in) are allowed to be built according to the original agreement on the land which states it is to remain “forever open, clear and free.” . What has happened several times now, is someone with a lot of political clout comes in and tries to build a museum with their name on it in the parkland and people get understandable upset. Every time a smear campaign is started by the Mayor against the people upholding the law while the politically connected person behind the museum refuse any other site because they only want it on the prized and untouchable waterfront. The museum project is ultimately defeated by those upholding the ideal of open space in a dense city and the museum benefactor ends up backing down. This all happened in 2007 with the defeated Children’s Museum project where the Mayor actually accused the opposition of trying to keep black children out of downtown while he tried desperately to push the Pritzker family’s pet project through.

        I think it’s a good thing that no matter how much you have and who you know, even in one of the most corrupt cities in the US, you still can’t override the law to build your personal monument. I’m surprised by how many people are willing to bend the law and give up something people clearly want so badly in exchange for some baubles.

        PS – Ironically, I think if he proposed the Chicago design here instead of that poorly designed Beauxs Arts thing, he might have gotten it.

        • Posted by Orland

          What a pile of bull!

          “Forever open, clear and free”…”prized and untouchable waterfront”. Really? He was talking about building that atrocity on an expansive asphalt parking lot between an 60,000-seat capacity football stadium and a huge convention center named after someone named “McCormick.” Grandfathered or not, natural space preservation is not what was driving this opposition which really began with Bears fans objecting to their favorite tailgating location adjoining Soldier Field being taken from them.

          “smear campaign against the people”? Nice to know SF doesn’t have a complete monopoly on the populist wacko wing.

          And you really believe that hideous thing would ever have gotten built on the shores of the Golden Gate?

          • Posted by BobN

            An asphalt parking lot, though certainly not “natural open space” can certainly become open space at some point without a great deal of effort compared to tearing down a museum. Our cities are going to get more dense. Open space, even open-space-to-be needs to be preserved.

          • Posted by Anon94123

            The Presidio Parade used to be one enormous asphalt parking lot only 4 or 5 years ago, now it is grass and trees. Agree with BobN, it would not take great effort to turn a waterfront parking lot into a park.

          • Posted by Orland

            And what about Soldier Field and McCormick Place on either side which would turn any reclamation into an insignificant lawn at best?

            Beside, I was primarily addressing the oh-too-sickenly reverent doggerel of the false premise upon which the opposition was based.

    • Posted by BobN

      He seems obsessed with building something, anything! on public land. Weird.

  3. Posted by canopy

    Put it in the Palace of Fine Arts. RPD needs a tenant, and this could be a better use than a fancy hotel like some of the proposals call for.

    [Editor’s Note: The Top Three Proposals for Repurposing the Palace of Fine Arts. In addition, seismic concerns would make the museum’s collection nearly impossible to insure within the Palace.]

    • Posted by Someonewhocares

      Then seismically upgrade the Palace of Fine Arts and have the museum there. I think canopy’s idea would be awesome!! Win-win for everyone including Mr. Lucas by having his museum so close to the Presidio and near his Letterman Digital Arts campus to boot!

  4. Posted by Dave

    This may not have been appropriate as its a somewhat a “personal” museum but, that said, I’d have really liked the TI development opened up to proposals for museums and other public venues as opposed to what the City is turning it into..

    • Posted by Orland

      Can you explain what’s wrong with a “personal museum” when the subject matter is of wide interest?”

      And what’s with your obsession with the Treasure Island development? At this stage, it’s seems unfair to have any strong opinion one way or the other as you can’t possibly know what it will be like to actually experience it.You seen upset that it is intended to be an adjunct to the City and not some kind of “preserve.” Personally, I think it’s way too heavy on empty space.

  5. Posted by Frisco

    Slow news day… This museum would make sense in LA. Plenty of sites and its collection is half movie memorabilia anyway.

  6. Posted by Orland

    Lucas clearly immediately rejected out-of-hand the offer of Piers 30-32 and the seawall lot across the Embarcadero due pique over the Presidio dust up. Maybe by now he’ll realize what a fantastic opportunity that was. I say give him the property in exchange for his rehabbing the piers sufficiently to support park and recreational uses and build the museum on the land. Just not that hideous atrocity he tried to foist on Chicago.

    • Posted by Someonewhocares

      I like that idea. Lots of possibilities for other good sites in SF abound as well such as those piers you mentioned, the empty (but seismically unstable) Palace of Fine Arts, and even a beautiful place on Treasure Island. It’s fun to dream. If only we could get George to listen!

  7. Posted by Some Guy

    The what? The “Lucas Cultural Museum”? In the 2nd half of life George has consistently struck me as someone more than necessarily full of himself. Puhleeze. Lucas = Star Wars, period. Call in what it is, “The Star Wars Museum.” Skip the pretension to some higher cultural calling, or are there going to be displays of Native American artifacts alongside the life-size Boba Fett and Wookie models.

    The design looks fine, stick it wherever it will fit, people will flock to it for decades *in spite* of the post-1990 Star Wars franchise. The original 3 movies still stand, Empire Strikes is best-in-show.

  8. Posted by Futurist

    Simply put, make Lucas buy his own damn piece of private land and then build it. Never on public land ever!

    • Posted by Orland

      Why? If he rehabs the piers (which otherwise are going to have to be removed at considerable cost to the Port) for public use and builds what would undoubtedly be a significant attraction for that part of the waterfront, what can you find objectionable?

  9. Posted by JIPB

    Is Oakland still in the mix if Chicago craps out?

  10. Posted by Defu

    That parking lot is prime bears tailgating territory. Don’t f*ck with bears fans, even for a museum of americanakitsch.

  11. Posted by Richard

    SF should be pushing the Hunters Point Shipyard as an ideal site for the museum. Incredible South Bay views and lots of land available.

  12. Posted by tyler

    He can put it in Indianapolis, literally anywhere, we have the abandoned GM plant site which is huge, right next to the zoo and across the river from downtown/convenction center/stadium; or the michigan/sherman ave ex-industrial site or the citizens coke plant site maybe, or the riverside industrial site; all of these have been cleared and you can literally have them for free….. come on…… do it. we won’t fight it.

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