SF exploring alternate sites in effort to keep Lucas museum plan in city 

click to enlarge Mayor Ed Lee
  • The mayor hopes to keep George Lucas' proposed museum in San Francisco.
The Presidio Trust may have jilted filmmaker George Lucas’ plans when it rejected his proposal for a cultural arts museum near Crissy Field along with two other projects, but now Mayor Ed Lee is hoping to keep the director’s proposal from being lured to Chicago.

“At least one other great city covets this investment and collection, and has mounted a full-scale campaign to locate Mr. Lucas’ Culture Arts Museum there,” Lee said in a statement Friday about Chicago. “But I will not let go easily of such a significant private investment.”

With that in mind, Lee has directed city departments and his staff to pull together a short list of alternate sites in The City – public and private – for the museum that will be presented to Lucas sometime this month.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reportedly told Lucas’ team that Chicago will have a list of potential sites for review by mid May.

As for the Trust, it too offered the Lucas team an alternative site within the federal land for the arts museum in February. Aside from the “Star Wars” director’s plan, the Trust rejected the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Presidio Exchange cultural institution and event center, and a sustainability-themed ecological center proposed by the Bridge/Sustainability Institute.

“Back in February, when the board turned down all three proposals, they suggested to the Lucas team that they consider a site adjacent to the Lucas Digital Arts campus, located along Lincoln Boulevard and bordered by Girard Road and Edie Road,” wrote Presidio Trust spokesperson Dana Polk.

David Perry, a spokesman for the Lucas team, was glad to hear of Lee’s efforts. “We’re delighted that Mayor Lee and his administration see that importance,” he said of the museum.

Lucas’ representatives are currently looking into the alternate Presidio site and awaiting options presented by both Chicago and San Francisco.

In the roughly two years since the Trust asked for proposals for the Crissy Field site where Lucas wanted to locate his Beaux Arts-style museum to house his art collection, the debate morphed into something beyond a discussion about what type of building would have been best as the Presidio’s centerpiece. It drew into its orbit national figures and in many ways, appeared to carry water for larger issues: conservation and tradition vs. change and innovation, as well as big private money vs. publicly respected nonprofits.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Bio:
Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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