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April 19, 2016

Chicago Eyes Site Shift for Stalled Lucas Museum Project

Hoping to kick-start the building of Star Wars creator George Lucas's planned Chicago showcase for his collection of art and movie memorabilia, city officials have proposed a new location on the Lake Michigan waterfront, reports the Chicago Tribune. Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson, Mr. Lucas's wife and a key figure in museum planning, called the move a "last-ditch" effort to rescue the project, currently mired in a court fight over its initial proposed site.

Mr. Lucas and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are eager for work to begin on the museum, to which the movie mogul has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars. A federal judge has held up construction pending a resolution of a suit brought by activist group Friends of the Park, which objects to the current site just south of Soldier Field that is now used for parking on football game days.

The new blueprint calls for tearing down the city's aging convention center on the lake to create new space for the museum. Supporters say the proposal is less susceptible to preservationists' objections because it is already developed. The plan would require state approval for several tax hikes and some $1.2 billion in borrowing authority for the agency that runs the convention center, according to the Tribune.