George Lucas moves legacy museum to Los Angeles

2016-06-27 14:15

Chicago - Star Wars creator George Lucas said Friday he has given up on plans to build a legacy museum in Chicago after a legal battle with local activists.

The filmmaker said in a statement he will build his museum somewhere in California.

The museum was meant to be constructed along Chicago's famed lakefront in a spot that's currently a parking lot.

Chicago lured Lucas there in 2014, after efforts to build the museum in San Francisco failed.

But Chicago's plans soon went awry as well.

The Friends of the Parks group sued, saying the city did not have the power to turn over public lands for use by a private institution.

Lucas strongly criticised the preservation group's actions.

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

"The actions initiated by Friends of (the) Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government."

Federal judge refused to dismiss case

But the Friends of the Parks' lawsuit was found to have merit by federal judge John Darrah, who refused to dismiss the case or to lift a temporary construction ban, saying there was a persuasive argument that the proposed museum would "impair public interest in the land."

Attempts to negotiate a deal with Friends of the Parks stalled soon after.

The group had initially rejected an alternate site proposal, but later asked for a list of concessions in order to win its support.

The latter proved the final blow for plans to build the museum in Chicago.

Within minutes of Lucas' announcement, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement lamenting the loss of "a gift worth approximately $1.5bn."

"Chicago's loss will be another city's gain," Emanuel said. "This missed opportunity has not only cost us what will be a world-class cultural institution, it has cost thousands of jobs for Chicago workers, millions of dollars in economic investment and countless educational opportunities for Chicago's youth."

Friends of the Parks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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