Chicago Lands Lucas Cultural Arts Museum

Museum would be located near Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears

By NBC Bay Area Staff
|  Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014  |  Updated 11:14 PM PDT
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Chicago mayor says the new museum will boost the city's cultural profile  and create jobs.

Chicago mayor says the new museum will boost the city's cultural profile and create jobs.

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Chicago has come out on top in the intense competition for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum.

City Hall officials confirmed that the city has beat out San Francisco and Los Angeles for the museum, which will host more than 500,000 pieces of art and movie memorabilia from Star Wars director George Lucas' personal archives.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed building the museum on two parking lots located near Soldier Field and offered to lease the land to Lucas for $1, a similar arrangement other large cultural institutions have with the Chicago Park District.

The proposal still needs to go through the Chicago Plan Commission. The earliest the museum would open is 2018.

Museum officials say it will be dedicated to narrative art -- the telling of stories visually, and that the key objective will be to inspire and educate future generations.

Chicago received the nod "because of the quality of the site proposed by the city's task force," and the "unparalleled visitor access" on the 17-acre site.

"Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in San Francisco," said Lucas, a native of Modesto.

San Francisco was pushing a piece of property near the water in its downtown area after city officials rejected the first targeted location.

In a statement, Presidio Trust Board of Directors Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said the trust is disappointed by Lucas’s decision.

“The Trust encouraged Mr. Lucas to consider an alternative world-class location in the Presidio with views of the Bay, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” Bechtle said. “Mr. Lucas decided not pursue this opportunity. We thank Mr. Lucas for his longtime commitment to the Presidio and wish him the best in Chicago.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti promoted the use of a #WhyLucasInLA hashtag to build support through social media. The museum would have bene located near the University of Southern California, where Lucas attended film school.

Emanuel lobbied hard for the museum to come to Chicago but family ties likely played a part in the decision. Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago and the two share a home in the city.

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