After legal troubles with the proposed site for George Lucas’s narrative arts museum in Chicago, the filmmaker is considering building on Treasure Island.
Treasure Island, San Francisco, may end up being the location George Lucas finally gets to build his Museum of Narrative Art on. Lucas had originally settled on the Lake Michigan waterfront in Chicago, but a lawsuit filed against him by the Friends of the Parks group for violating public trust is delaying his project indefinitely (via San Francisco Chronicle).
Lucas Museum design plan for Chicago
Basically what the public trust doctrine dictates is certain areas, like some waterfronts, are to be reserved for public use and not sectioned off by private ownership. Which means, the Friends of the Parks would rather have a featureless shoreline than a cultural museum which would bring tourism and consequently a boost in economy to that part of Chicago.
Hence, San Francisco to the rescue. Mayor Ed Lee has already spoken to Lucas about building his museum on the west side of Treasure Island on a site that has already been approved for construction (via SF Gate). The museum would have to be smaller than Lucas originally intended, but to my mind, a decrease in size is a small price to pay for not getting the project stuck in a legal dispute, again.
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Lucas may also have another location option in Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti has reportedly already singled out a spot where the museum could be built, if Lucas chooses to make its home there in LA. LA might be an attractive offer to Lucas, who tried to build in San Francisco before at the Presidio, but moved his project to Chicago because of countless legal hurdles and the fact he couldn’t build the museum as large as he wanted.
Building on Treasure Island is ideal because a lot of those hurdles have already been gone over, like completing an environmental study and approving the construction of museums and other public facilities. The museum wouldn’t be on a waterfront, either, which would negate another set of regulations to fight through.
The goal of the narrative art museum is to “celebrate the power of visual storytelling in a setting focused on narrative painting, illustration, photography, film, animation and digital art” (via Lucas Museum). It’s a fitting project for Lucas, who has always been a visual storyteller first and foremost. Now, if the government of San Francisco can get on board for his vision of the museum, Lucas will finally be able to see his dream become a reality.