The Windy City doesn’t plan to welcome George Lucas with open arms.
The billionaire Star Wars creator announced June 24 that he plans to build his private museum in Chicago, choosing a location on Lake Michigan over spots in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But a group of Chicagoans has vowed to file a lawsuit to block Lucas from building his $1 billion facility on the grounds that the private museum violates city ordinances designed to preserve the space next to Lake Michigan for public use, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
But Bears fans have joined these public space advocates in objecting to the museum’s planned location for a very different reason. The facility is set to be built close to Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play and will occupy two of the parking lots currently dedicated to the arena. Bears fans are concerned that the museum is honing in on their tailgating space.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who lobbied hard to bring the museum to Chicago, says that he believes the project will survive legal challenges, according to the Chicago Tribune. He assured Chicagoans that no taxpayer money would be used to build the museum and that the 17-acre plot of land is large enough for both the museum and 12 acres of new green space. He also addressed the question of tailgating, giving no details but saying, “We’ve worked that issue out, and [tailgating] will be continued.”
The 95,000-square-foot building will house the director and producer’s memorabilia, examples of his technology and paintings by the likes of Norman Rockwell from Lucas’ personal collection. If plans move forward, the George Lucas Museum will sit on the same campus as Chicago’s many other museums, including the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and the Museum of Science and Industry. It is set to open in 2018.