Chicago loses 'Star Wars' museum to California

Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:36pm EDT
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By Fiona Ortiz

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Filmmaker George Lucas is pulling his "Star Wars" museum project out of Chicago in favor of a California location after he ran into legal challenges from an open-spaces group in Chicago, he said on Friday.

Lucas blasted the parks group that had sued to stop the building of the museum on the Lake Michigan shore in an area that is currently a parking lot for a sports arena.

"No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot," he said in a statement from the museum.

The statement said the museum's leaders confirmed it would now be located in California but did not specify in which city.

Friends of the Parks, the group that filed suit last year to stop the museum project, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The group argued the museum would be an eyesore on the waterfront and that it violated public use policy governing development on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had pushed for the project, saying it would bring jobs, investment and tourism to Chicago. He lamented Lucas' decision, which came after he and other political leaders had tried to negotiate with the parks group.

"Chicago's loss will be another city's gain," Rahm said in a statement. He said the city was losing a $1.5 billion gift.

The proposed museum would feature exhibitions of Lucas' collection of paintings, illustrations and digital art from the blockbuster "Star Wars" movie franchise he started in 1977.   Continued...

Director George Lucas poses at the American Film Institute's (AFI) 44th Life Achievement Award honoring composer John Williams at Dolby theatre in Hollywood, California U.S., June 9, 2016.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni