March 03, 2015

Oakland Eyes George Lucas Museum if Chicago Plan Falters

A Bay Area business group has made a pitch to movie mogul George Lucas to build his $700-million museum of narrative arts in Oakland if the current proposal for a waterfront Chicago site falls through, reports San Francisco Business Times. In a letter last month to the Star Wars filmmaker, the Bay Area Council noted legal challenges to Mr. Lucas's planned Chicago location and cited Oakland's growing cachet as young renters, hot restaurants, and commercial projects move into the East Bay city.

Mr. Lucas opted for Chicago, hometown of his wife, Mellody Hobson, last year after his first site choice in San Francisco's Presidio was rejected by the Presidio Trust, which oversees the national park's interior. Plans for the Chicago site have been challenged by local open-space activists, and a major booster of the museum, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is facing a tough re-election campaign. "Your museum could serve as a cultural and economic centerpiece to help Oakland thrive and prosper," Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman wrote to Mr. Lucas.