Though his heart may be in San Francisco, Lucas believes Chicago’s the better place for his museum.
Chicago has won the bidding war to host George Lucas’ Star Wars museum, beating out San Francisco and Los Angeles. The estimated $700 million to $1 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will occupy a 17 acre site at Chicago’s lakefront museum campus – already home to the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum – with a projected opening date of 2018.
While he couldn’t be said to be having second thoughts, Lucas clearly felt a little guilty about letting San Francisco down. “Building in Chicago is the right decision for the museum,” he said in a statement, “But the Bay Area will always be my home. I grew up here, made all my films here and raised my family in the Bay Area.
“I am humbled to be joining such an extraordinary museum community,” he said of the Chicago site, “And to be creating the museum in a city that has a long tradition of embracing the arts.”
San Francisco made a strong bid, even going so far as to hang banners that said “George Lucas, please build your museum in San Francisco for the world to enjoy” over the projected museum site and at city hall. Practical considerations may have won through; the Chicago site certainly has more space to offer. Lucas had been looking at one or two sites in San Francisco, but in the end he was offered a 2.3 acre lot across from the city’s Embarcadero. It’s understandable that 17 acres of lakefront looked more appealing.