The billion dollar Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Los Angles rather than San Francisco.

While the museum’s Board of Directors focused on the positives in their announcement yesterday, noting that LA’s Exposition Park location will best position the museum “to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling [their] goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship,” San Francisco’s history of having previously spurned the museum, the potential for an environmental-based legal challenge of Lucas’ Treasure Island plans, and accessibility all weighed on the decision.

And then there’s that pesky issue of a projected sea level rise of up to 66 inches by 2100.

Lucas is aiming to have the Los Angeles museum open by 2020.

62 thoughts on “Lucas Picks LA over SF for Billion Dollar Museum”
        1. And yet this location is within a few blocks of TWO new rail lines connecting it both to downtown LA and the West Side. LA knows how to get things done.

          1. And so IF Chicago had been successful in securing the museum to their city, then you would have said that “Chicago knows how to get things done”.

            Easy to say and really means nothing.

          2. Your misplaced snark is in overdrive Futurist – clearly his comment was about building transit, not the museum; and L.A. has been lapping S.F. in that department for years now.

  1. I’m not the first to say that LA seems to be pretty good at getting things done lately (multiple transit lines, densifying itself, etc.).

    1. Wrong. The ideal location was on the seawall lot opposite piers 30-32 in conjunction with their rehabilitation for park/recreational uses.

      The site of the temporary terminal is going to be a gem of a public park as well as housing.

      1. Pier 30-32 would have been fantastic but cost $250MM or more to replace the pier.

        I sure wouldn’t call the proposed park at the TBT a gem. LOL. About 1/2 a block in size and 40% covered in concrete. I can’t see myself or any of my neighbors hanging out there when Rincon park is 2 blocks away.

        1. Pier retrofit costs are huge if San Fran waterfront is truly going to get built on. However, that doesn’t even address the serious issue of trying to replace the buried seawall behind all the mess. Seattle replaced its seawall as part of its recent waterfront development & replacing Alaska Way Viaduct. However, it was not cheap but it is also relatively small project compared to how much seawall needs to be replaced. San Fran might have some huge issues on its waterfront with one good earthquake. At same time, I wonder if that what leadership secretly wishes for. Feds replaced and rebuilt a lot of local infrastructure after hurricane Katrina and Sand

          1. It was recently reported that an initiative has qualified for the ballot providing for a $350 Mill. bond to begin the project.

      2. Not sure how having 1/3rd of that block – and the interior 1/3rd at that, wedged between two short towers, will be a “gem”. My word is more like “travesty”.

          1. That is funny. But sure, OK. I’ll print out the current rosy rendering, and take it down to the site in a few years, to see how the shadowed, homeless-filled mid-block park compares to the flash and dash PR.

  2. No big loss… Really. At least as bad a proposal as Chase Center. Wrong building in the wrong location… Move on.

    1. Thankfully that’s not actually how planning or design works. The unfortunate thing here is that SF continues “moving on” and poorly in most cases, but still.

      This city really needs to step up in the housing, infrastructure, transit departments as well as strengthening its cultural resources (or developing new ones).

  3. This is an appropriate and totally expected decision.

    LA is going through a major re-birth and, if it continues apace, at some point NYC residents, many of whom tend to look down on LA, will have to accept it is becoming a truly world class city a la NYC. Los Angelinos, of course, will argue it already is.

    As to TI – who is going to pay for measures to counteract the sea level rise and “protect” Lennar’s development there? Will it be Lennar or the taxpayer – let me guess!

    The bigger point is TI is not just an SF resource but a jewel of the Bay Area. That something truly imaginative, worthy and public oriented was not done there is a shame. A once in a century opportunity that was squandered away.

      1. LA is undoubtedly the cultural World Capital. It is what most of the planet will look like in the near future. At least, what will most be emulated.

    1. “world class city” means nothing. It’s an empty adjative. Dave does not know what he is talking about.

      The TI comments mean nothing as well. Plus housing is a public need in the bay area.

  4. This is the right choice. That site is hard to get to, wind blown most of the year and I think this building would become an eye sore and a white elephant with in a generation or two. Pier 30-32 might have been more interesting location for sure but we all know that’s never going to happen.

    1. Yes. Smart of LA to offer such a central location. The best decision was obvious.

      That’s not to say that TI isn’t an appropriate place for an attraction. Its remoteness presents a disadvantage. Maybe that disadvantage can be turned into an advantage? Casinos seem to thrive on attracting and capturing their customers. TI: the roach motel for gamblers. “Sorry sir, you missed the last ferry. But there will be a bus leaving in an hour.”

      1. “It’s remoteness presents a disadvantage.”

        You do know that a World’s Fair was held at that location once upon a time; seventeen million people visited it during its two years before US involvement in WWII.

        1. I meant a disadvantage relative to LA’s Expo Park which is surrounded by a big city and well connected via streets and transit. TI is still a viable site for an attraction like this but is indeed at a disadvantage compared to what other cities can offer.

          1. There were other Bay Area locations that might have worked. Some of the Oakland shoreline for instance. But then the region gets into a shooting match and it “has” to be in SF for pride reasons. The Bay Area should have gone after this, if it wanted it, on a region-wide basis. Clearly SF was always a shakey choice, but there were other options.

          2. Not suggesting Marin. The East Bay seems to have been the perfect choice or the south Peninsula neat Levis.

  5. With LA being the home of much movie and TV production, it seems like an appropriate location… much better than Chicago.

  6. Whether you like Lucas or not, it’s a big loss for SF – plain and simple


    Ed Lee failed – plain and simple

    1. Big loss for sure. Not sure it was purely Ed Lees fault though. Seems to me like the 1K + people you need to ask (nicely) to get anything done in the city that are to blame. Having lived here over a decade now its safe to say: par for the course.

    2. We don’t need to take every construction project that comes our way. SF is an exceptional city because we are selective. We rejected his first proposal because it was ugly and his collection is meh. LA can have it. The new design is beautiful and their taste in pop art and movie props exceeds ours by leaps and bounds.

  7. Now that San Francisco will not have the Lucas collection of pop culture about himself, perhaps Southern California will give us a consolation prize and send the Huntington Library and Museum north. Now that is something to envy in the southland.

  8. It simply economics and who offered a better deal – L.A. did. Never understood why SF would offer Treasure Island as a site for the museum. There isn’t sufficient transportation and things to do in TI to warrant any tourist making a special trip there. It is almost like the current Disney museum — anyone been there? I haven’t.

    Btw, Million Dollar Listing, L.A. is still going strong season after season with some nicely done high-end homes. Million Dollar Listing, S.F. edition was on for one season as people got a real look at how little you get in SF.

    1. Yes, I’ve been to the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio and it is well-done and a huge cultural asset for SF. We missed another great opportunity. I miss the old days when SF earned its old moniker “The City that knows how”.

  9. Note that the white circle in the concept picture is the old Los Angeles Sports Arena which has been torn down. the LAFC stadium is under construction on that site.

    With USC next door that specific location seems like a perfect place for the Lucas Museum.

  10. I’m still trying to comprehend why Treasure Island was even floated as a site. Sorry, but can’t comprehend with congested Bay Bridge, limited ferry service coming and no other favorable alternatives why thousand of housing units is being sought on treasure island let alone a destination location. Still a lot of old facilities and industrial sites from Hunter Shipyard, to former Candlestick Park to Alameda naval station that should be built upon first.

    In the meantime, A lot of things coming together for LA as noted. I wonder if it is truly because they are the big boy in the room or a lot more to it. Lets face it, Bay areas still has three essentially competing factions from San Fran/Peninsula to San Jose/Silicon Valley to Oakland/Berkeley/East Bay. Need a lot more cooperation on regional transportation beyond BART and housing if the Bay Area wants to catch up on some items that LA is excelling on right now.

      1. Actually, Mayor Lee “offered” Lucas 30-32 immediately after the Presidio Trust’s decision to withdraw its request for proposals (thereby rejecting Lucas’ bid) which was just as quickly rejected by him out-of-hand. I’ve always thought it was done in a rash fit of pique he probably later regretted but was too proud to walk back.

    1. Maybe because it is a spectacular site with dramatic views of an international city’s skyline? It was also the location of a World’s Fair in 1939 & 1940 that drew over 17 million people. Limited ferry service would have been expanded and possibly included in the admission ticket. How many people annually take a boat to an abandoned federal prison in the middle of the Bay?

    2. I just don’t understand why people do not readily recognize what a great place to live TI is going to be. Much easier and faster commute to downtown SF than from HP/CP. Or, Cole Valley for that matter.

    3. The lack of regional authority in the Bay Area (with some teeth) is hurting the region versus other regions such as LA and will continue to do so. The bevy of local transportation districts is ridiculous. For starters SamTrans and MUNI should be a single transportation entity.

  11. And … of course, it doesn’t hurt at all that Exposition Park is located directly acrioss from USC – his Alma Mater …and is part of the Grand St Redevelopment plan of dowtn LA!

  12. They didn’t want to pay the bribes to the assorted elected officials and hangers on from Willie Brown’s days. I don’t blame them – Big Ed Lee is a lying crook. LA has a much better mayor, and they don’t have a pack of rent-controlled aholes who go around ruining projects like we do. SF is a small town that thinks it’s NYC but it’s really just a college town with a lot of aholes in it.

  13. I doubt that SF was ever a serious contender after the way Lucas was previously treated. Who in their right mind would want to do business in San Francisco?

    And then there are the usual San Francisco snoots who put down the things that would be exhibited at Lucas’ museum. They are people who long ago lost their sense of fun for which San Francisco is famous. This town, despite all of it’s own claims, is a very staid, defensive, close minded place. Very sad. They wouldn’t eat their cake even if they could keep it.

    1. And just how was “he treated” that he should not give SF further consideration? He put forth a laughably bad proposal and then obstinately absolutely refused to budge when it was obvious it was not at all what the Trust wanted. I have always thought the withdrawal of the request for proposals rather than accepting one of the other (worthy) proposals was a face-saving measure for his benefit. He was arrogant throughout [and] given multiple opportunities to build a suitable version of his museum here. Who needs it?

      1. The 1% must be obeyed. On any and all grounds. Hence the support by a shocking number of people here for The Tangerine Menace.

    1. Are you kidding me? Lucas’ proposal was a hideous montrosity that would have brought far too much traffic into the Presidio for the park to handle.

  14. Absolutely in no position to be picky or snooty about what museums are in the city. We act like it’s the cultural capital of the world and talk about LA’s “lack of culture”, yet I would kill to have even a fraction of the museums that they have.

    LA has all these great cultural institutions that popped out of nowhere while SF was sleeping at the wheel. Lucas museum was right under our fingertips. He didn’t even want it in LA, but SF made it impossible for him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *