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George Lucas Museum May Find a Home in San Francisco

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    George Lucas is once again considering San Francisco as a possible home for a museum featuring his collection of illustrative art and movie memorabilia. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Monday, May 16, 2016)

    George Lucas is once again considering San Francisco as a possible home for a museum featuring his collection of illustrative art and movie memorabilia.

    A site on Treasure Island already has been approved for development, and Mayor Ed Lee has been lobbying the "Star Wars" creator after it was learned plans for a museum in Chicago may be fizzling out.

    The mayor has always believed San Francisco would be the ideal location for the museum, said Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for Lee.

    Lee has discussed the move with Lucas and plans to send a formal letter to the filmmaker this week inviting him to consider a site on the west side of Treasure Island facing downtown.

    Lucas previously offered to put up about $700 million for the project. The museum deal would need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Treasure Island Development Authority.

    San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin says the museum could bolster the island's ferry service.

    "Right now, that island is only connected to the East Bay and San Francisco by a highly congested bridge," Peskin said. "But if we could have enough draw, we could actually get a robust ferry service that would be a boon to all the residents of the island as well as to visitors."

    The island is in Supervisor Jane Kim's district. She is running for a state Senate seat and hesitated when asked if she would pitch the project to Lucas.

    "I still have not heard about the location, the cost," she said. "These are the details we want to hear, and we certainly want to hear from our stakeholders and residents."

    Lucas, 72, had previously targeted a site near Crissy Field for his museum, but that plan was squashed by the Presidio Trust.

    At the Treasure Island site, an environmental review process has been completed and entitlements have been secured for a mixed-use project featuring 8,000 homes, 400,000 square feet of commercial space and two hotels. The city approvals also allow for construction of either a museum or community facilities on the island.

    As for Chicago, city officials there formally asked for a 30-day reprieve from an ongoing lawsuit brought by nonprofit Friends of the Parks, noting they are actively seeking a new site for the museum.

    In a subsequent news release, the nonprofit said the decision to suspend the suit would give “the opportunity to have a more direct and productive dialogue to reach a potential solution about a museum site.”

    The group's lawsuit targeted the museum’s original site, located between Soldier Field and McCormick Place. But, Friends of the Parks made it clear that it opposes any site on Chicago’s lakefront. The group said it will either amend the existing lawsuit to encompass the new McCormick Place Lakeside Center site or file a new suit, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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