A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday in a Chicago preservation nonprofit's legal challenge to movie mogul George Lucas's plan for a privately funded museum on the Lake Michigan waterfront, reports the Chicago Tribune. U.S. District Judge John Darrah could use the status hearing to rule on the merits of the suit brought by Friends of the Parks, the last remaining obstacle to construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
The Star Wars creator has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to build and endow the 300,000-square-foot facility, on which Chicago parks and planning and elected officials have signed off. Friends of the Parks contends the proposed lakefront site is held in public trust and should be preserved for use by Illinois residents. Lawyers for the city argue that the museum, which would lease the 17-acre property for $10 for 99 years, represents a public benefit and an improvement on the site's current use as a parking lot for nearby Soldier Field.