SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art is going to Chicago rather than the San Francisco waterfront.
Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, confirmed the decision Tuesday. McCaffrey did not have any immediate details about the much-anticipated decision by the filmmaker, but the choice is a major victory for Emanuel and the nation’s third-largest city.
The Sun-Times first reported the story and KCBS confirmed, Lucas reached a deal for the museum on Chicago’s lakefront, after a failed bid to build in San Francisco’s Presidio. It was unclear for weeks whether Chicago or San Francisco would be selected.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee lamented the loss in a statement.
“I am disappointed that San Francisco will not benefit from this renowned art collection and significant private investment by Mr. Lucas that would have been enjoyed by our families and children for generations to come,” he said.
Lucas had worked with the Presidio Trust for more than four years on plans to build in Crissy Field on a location currently occupied by a Sports Basement store. When the Trust declined, they suggested alternate sites within the Presidio. Lee called their decision “unwise”.
“The Lucas proposal was not compatible with the character of the National Historic Landmark status and National Park setting,” said Nancy Hellman Bechtle, chair of the Presidio Trust board of directors, in a statement.
The museum was then proposed to be located on San Francisco’s Piers 30 and 32, but was in competition with Los Angeles and Chicago who were also vying for the museum.
Some residents had raised concerns about the development at Seawall Lot 330, a plot of land on the Embarcadero across from Piers 30-32.
Some people thought Chicago might have the upper hand because Lucas’ wife is from Chicago and because of Emanuel’s powers of persuasion. But Lucas is a California native, his visual effects division is based in San Francisco and the headquarters for LucasFilm and Skywalker Sound is in nearby Marin County.
“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,” Lucas said in a news release.
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has gone as far as releasing a statement urging the museum to reconsider its decision.
“George Lucas got his start in the Bay Area – his legacy was defined here – his museum belongs here,” said Bob Linscheid, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
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