Lucas Museum’s Scaled-Back Design Could Jeopardize Opposition Lawsuit *UPDATED*

Lucas Museum’s Scaled-Back Design Could Jeopardize Opposition Lawsuit *UPDATED*

Lucas Museum

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has downsized from the conceptual design first proposed in fall of 2014. The new design is 25% smaller — down from the 400,000 square foot, seven story structure, to 300,000 square feet. In addition to the scaled-back size, the new plan also calls for more green space and a free-standing parking garage, rather than placing it underground as originally planned.

The updated design was revealed in federal court on Thursday, September 10, as part of an ongoing legal battle with the conservation group, Friends of the Parks. In addition to the smaller scale and expanded green space — including a garden, an eco-park, a dune field, and a prairie — the new ground lease agreement between the City of Chicago and George Lucas allows the City to lease the land to Lucas for $10 a year for the next 99 years, and is renewable after that time.

As a result of the recent changes, U.S. District Judge John Darrah told Friends of the Parks that their suit against the Lucas Museum was no longer viable:

“You don’t have anything filed challenging this,” Darrah said. “It appears the basis for your complaint as presented by you has been superseded.”

Judge Darrah gave the organization 21 days to recalibrate their lawsuit before returning to court November 10.

The museum, green space, and 1,500-vehicle parking structure would occupy 17 acres on Lake Michigan — land that is currently a parking lot — between Soldier Field and McCormick Place. The overall look of the museum retains the look of the original design, but will have more windows. Images of the new design have not been made generally available.


The proposed Lucas Museum would occupy the 17-acre parking lot to the far left of Soldier Field, as seen on the far right. (Image credit: Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune)

Friends of the Parks maintains that the museum would mar the look of the lakefront, and that a private individual should not be allowed to build on public park land. Legislation passed earlier this year, and signed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, seemed to clear the path for the Lucas Museum, although some legal experts disagree.


The artist rendering below shows the scaled-back museum (right), and the surrounding grounds, in comparison to the parking lot currently occupying that same space (left).


Four and a half acres of a grassy field south of the museum could be used by Chicago Bears tailgaters, who were to be displaced before the museum re-design.

Source: Chicago Tribune.

Source for update: Chicago Tribune

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