George Lucas has made an indelible impact on San Francisco and the Bay Area. From the blockbuster films – and thousands of jobs – he has created here, to his investments in the Presidio including the Letterman Digital Arts Center and Industrial Light & Magic, to his educational foundation, Lucas’s work has complemented and enhanced our region’s economy and reputation for decades.
Now, Mr. Lucas seeks a home for his legacy project –a state-of-the-art cultural arts museum showcasing a $1 billion collection of Americana art and Hollywood memorabilia. Without a doubt, that home should be here in San Francisco.
The $700 million privately financed museum will be a first-of-its kind institution, designed to serve as the country’s premiere venue for understanding the connections and lineage of illustrative and visual art. Featuring both permanent and traveling exhibits, the museum will not only attract residents and visitors in our city, it will also offer educational programming and resources for children, families, schools, scholars, and visiting artists.
Not surprisingly, San Francisco is not the only city competing for the tremendous collection and investment. Following the Presidio Trust’s recent decision to reject all proposals for the commissary site at Crissy Field, we are now contending with Chicago and other cities, which are actively proposing attractive deals and locations to lure the museum to their towns. San Francisco can’t sit on it laurels long if it wants to keep Lucas’ interest in our city.
Thankfully, Mayor Ed Lee has proposed a premiere site for the museum – Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 located along our city’s iconic waterfront. While other projects have fallen short of raising the necessary capital, consensus and approvals to build on the long-blighted site, the Lucas Cultural Museum is uniquely suited not only to build – but thrive – in the space.
Recently vacated by the Golden State Warriors, who now plan to develop their new arena in Mission Bay, Piers 30-32 are located near public transit serving the city and region. According to development experts, the proposed 200,000 to 300,000-square foot museum can be easily accommodated within the sites existing height limits.
The Lucas Cultural Museum also seems to have the support it would need to become a reality on our waterfront. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Ed Lee, business leaders, educators, parents and families have all pledged support for the project. Even the long-time waterfront obstructionists behind Proposition B are open to the museum on the waterfront, stating that the project has merit. Such broad-reaching consensus is rare for any development in our city.
San Francisco is united. The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum belongs here. San Francisco is an incubator for innovation and creativity, and the legacy of long-time Bay Area resident and moviemaker George Lucas should remain in our city for generations to experience and enjoy.