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George Lucas' planned art museum at the Presidio faces hurdles

November 22, 2013|By David Ng
  • George Lucas, shown recently at the AMPAS Governors Awards, has hit a bump in his quest to build an art museum at the Presidio in San Francisco.
George Lucas, shown recently at the AMPAS Governors Awards, has hit a bump… (Kevin Winter / Getty Images )

George Lucas wants to build his new art museum featuring works from his personal collection at the Presidio in San Francisco. But officials at the famous site are pushing back, having asked the "Star Wars" creator and other competing projects to rethink their designs before a decision is made.

On Thursday, the board of directors of the Presidio Trust met to decide on proposals for developing an eight-acre site across from Crissy Field. Among the proposals vying for physical space is Lucas' art museum as well as  a proposed science-themed center and a mixed-use complex from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. 

"In the interest of having the best project possible for the Presidio, we want to provide one more opportunity for teams to adjust their proposals before we make a selection," said the board in an announcement released on Thursday. It said revised proposals are due Jan. 3.

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The board didn't specifically mention Lucas' proposed art museum, which would be called the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. But the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Presidio board Chairwoman Nancy Bechtle recently met with the newspaper's editorial board during which she expressed reservations about the museum's design.

Bechtle described the design for the museum as "too big" and having an "inappropriate configuration," according to the Chronicle. The design has a faux Beaux Arts style and carries an estimated $700-million price tag.

Lucas made waves in September when he told the New York Times that the Presidio Trust board has been antagonistic to his planned museum and that he would take the museum to Chicago if it were to be rejected in San Francisco.

The director has been an avid collector of art by Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish. The official website for the planned museum features design renderings of the building. 

Last year Lucas sold his company, Lucasfilm, to Disney for a little more than $4 billion. Disney is planning a series of "Star Wars" sequels, with the first in the series expected to be released in 2015.

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