George Lucas Museum Won’t Open in Chicago

“Unfortunately, time has run out,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says

Last Updated: June 24, 2016 @ 12:33 PM

The George Lucas Museum won’t be coming to Chicago after all.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is pulling out of a plan to open in the Windy City, following a legal challenge from Friends of the Parks.

“Unfortunately, time has run out and the moment we’ve consistently warned about has arrived — Chicago’s loss will be another city’s gain,” Emanuel said on Twitter.

Emanuel lamented the cultural and economic loss to the city that the scrapping of the museum plan will represent.

“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,” the mayor said.

Regarding the legal challenge to the museum, Emanuel said, “We tried to find common ground to resolve the lawsuit — the sole barrier preventing the start of the museum’s construction. But despite our best efforts to negotiate a common solution that would keep this tremendous cultural and economic asset in Chicago, Friends of the Parks chose to instead negotiate with themselves while Lucas negotiates with cities on the West Coast.”

Plans to build the museum in Chicago were announced in June 2014. Chicago beat out San Francisco and Los Angeles as the location for the facility.

The interactive museum would house Lucas’ extensive art collection, as well as props and artifacts from all his films from “Star Wars” to “Indiana Jones” and more.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Friends of the Parks filed suit blocking construction of the museum in November 2014, maintaining that the facility should not be built on the Chicago lakefront.

In a statement issued Friday, Friends of the Parks executive director Juanita Irizarry and board chair Lauren Moltz said it was “unfortunate” that the museum had pulled up stakes, saying that finding an alternate location in Chicago for the facility would have been a “true win-win.”

“It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of several alternative sites that is not on Chicago’s lakefront,” the pair said. “That would have been the true win-win.”

The Lucas Museum told TheWrap that the museum will now be located in California.

“No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot,” Lucas said in  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.”

“We are deeply appreciative to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and countless others for all the time and effort they invested in trying to secure the museum for Chicago,” the filmmaker added.