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Lucas Museum Could Head Back To The Bay Area

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 4, 2015 7:00PM

Rising up from the land and crescendoing to a “floating” disc, the tallest points of the Lucas Museum will feature an observation deck, providing visitors with stunning views ofboth Chicago and Lake Michigan. (Image courtesy Lucas Museum of Narrative Art)

The West Coast cities that were runner-ups to land the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art continue to hold on to the faintest of hopes to become the new home for George Lucas’ stuff as the legal battle over whether the museum should be built on Chicago’s lakefront drags on.

The latest city to say they would want the Lucas Museum if Chicago can’t be its home is Oakland. The Bay Area Council sent a letter to the Star Wars director last month asking him to consider San Francisco’s less-heralded neighbor to the east as a possible alternative if the Chicago deal become untenable. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said she’s “excited” by the possibility (however remote) of landing the Lucas Museum after San Francisco’s efforts to house it in the Presidio were unsuccessful. Schaaf added there is “strong interest in engaging Mr. Lucas in further discussion.”

The letter from the Bay Area Council cited a lawsuit filed by parkland advocacy group Friends of the Parks arguing the decision to build the Lucas Museum on lakefront property is not Chicago’s to make, but the State of Illinois’ as the trustee of the lakefront under Public Trust Doctrine. The land promised to Lucas by Emanuel is currently a parking lot serving Soldier Field and McCormick Place. Friends of the Parks and opponents of the proposal argue that even as a parking lot, it is public land that they feel would better serve the people as is more than a private museum would.

Oakland isn’t the only city watching the ongoing drama here play out. George Lucas mentioned Los Angeles as a possible destination for the museum if the legal battle over the lakefront site continues, although he has faith Emanuel and the city will fight to make it happen.