Lucas Losers Part 2: 25 More Chicago Places That Han Shot First

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 @ 3.53.45 pm PDT

Yesterday we published an article mentioning that there were 57 places in Chicago considered for the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.  While the politicians, lawyers and preservationists work out whether the site south of Soldier Field is legal or not, we thought we’d show you the 56 places that weren’t up to snuff.

If you missed locations one through 30, click here to read yesterday’s list.  If you’ve already seen that, then read on for locations 31 through 56.

31 Michael Reese Hospital (2930 South Cottage Grove Avenue)— This is perhaps the strongest alternative to the currently selected location.  Mayor Richard M. Daley razed the hospital  in order to impress the 2016 Olympic selection committee, but just like when you’re chucking rocks at a raven-haired waif’s bedroom window to wake her up and you end up breaking the glass, the plan backfired. So now it’s a big chunk of empty land right next to the lake, and virtually adjacent to downtown.  Some people think this would be a perfect place for the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  Surely there’s room for both.  If not, surely the Lucas and Obama museums can work together to extend the Museum Campus southward into Bronzeville.

32 Mil-Cal-Wes (Milwaukee Avenue between California and Western)— We can only guess this was suggested by someone who owns land in the area that they’re hoping the city will buy from them at a premium.

33 Motor Row (2200 through 2500 South Michigan)— Motor Row has lots of great historic buildings, and nobody wants to see them demolished for a giant museum.  But you could make it Motor Row-adjacent and tick an awful lot of boxes.

We're number one!  Suck it, Iowa!

We’re number one! Suck it, Iowa!

34 Navy Pier  (600 East Grand Avenue)— If you’re trying to draw tourists, there’s no better location than Navy Pier.  By some reckonings this is the number one tourist attraction in the entire Midwest.  But then there’s that whole “iconic” building thing again.  Lucas wants to spread his wings, and Navy Pier is a gilded cage.

35 National Teacher’s Academy Area (55 West Cermak Road)— A good location.  Near Chinatown.  Right on the Red Line, plus buses and three interstate highways.  Plenty of vacant land that needs help.  Only three blocks from the new McCormick Place Event Center.  Plus the Hilliard Homes next door look straight out of a Star Wars backdrop.  So what’s not to love?  Well, the immediate neighborhood is still “in transition”  and probably won’t finish making that transition by the time the museum opens.  But maybe the museum is just what the neighborhood needs to complete its gentrification process.

Come for the free parking.  Stay because you got shot dead looking for a restaurant after the game.

Come for the ample parking. Stay because you got shot looking for a restaurant after the game.

36 United Center Area (1859 West Madison Street)— See Malcom X College above.

Wildflowers=Good. Museums=Bad.  There will be a test.

Wildflowers=Good. Museums=Bad. There will be a test.

37 Northerly Island (1400 South Lynn White Drive)— Seriously?  Do not poke the preservationist bears.

 

38 Near O’Hare Airport (100000000 West O’Hare Avenue)— Until O’Hare becomes a Mos Eisley-themed spaceport, you simply could not pick a worse location.

It already looks like something E.T. would build

It already looks like something E.T. would build

39 Harpo Studios (1058 West Washington)— Let’s call this Plan C.  Tourists figured out how to get where when Oprah still loved Chicago, they can figure it out again.  But people in the area are notorious NIMBYs.  Unless the Lucas’ museum is going to be constructed of brick and timber, and be less the two stories tall, it’s going to be a problem.  Plus, Oprah says this place is haunted.  Do we really want to do that to George?

40 Old St. Stephen’s Church (5600 South Blackstone)— A little Hyde Park love in the house!  A creative museum might rub off on the politicians, lawyers, and bean counters being minted next door at the University of Chicago.  But it’s not the 1890’s anymore, so this place is just too far off the tourist radar. 

41 Above the Metra Tracks in Grant Park— Lakefront. Preservation. Ordinance.  Learn it.  Love it.  Live it.

The vacant lot is in the lower right corner.  C'mon, who takes pictures of vacant lots?

The vacant lot is in the lower right corner. C’mon, who takes pictures of vacant lots?

 

42 Vacant Lot next to NBC Tower (400 North Columbus Drive)— Another compelling alternative.  Right on the river, so high visibility.  Fantastic transit and tourist access.  Good space.  But the museum committee doesn’t want the museum to overshadow any adjacent architecture.  Even if they bend on that point, the city would probably rather have the several tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue that will be generated by this plot once it’s developed into a skyscraper.

43 Portage Park (5500 West Irving Park Road)— See Douglas, Garfield, and Jackson parks above.

44 23rd and Wabash (23rd & Wabash)— See National Teachers Academy above.

45 Where Agora is now (Michigan and Roosevelt)— See Above the Metra Tracks in Grant Park above.

46 Studio City (5660 West Taylor Street)— So far from the action that Apple Maps actually identifies it as being on the Chicago-Kansas City Expressway.

15 years after the name change, WGN-TV is still calling it "State of Illinois Building."

15 years after the name change, WGN-TV is still calling it “State of Illinois Building.”

47 Thompson Center (100 West Randolph Street)— Another pretty good idea.  Pretty much everyone hates this building.  The state wants to unload it.  It’s mostly air and glass, so it can’t be that hard to tear down.  Imagine a billboard featuring a giant Tie Fighter blowing it up as demolition progressed.

48 UIC Campus (1200 West Harrison Street)— Only if George Lucas gets to do to UIC what UIC did to Little Italy.

What the Chicago skyline might look like, as seen from underneath Burnham Harbor

What the Chicago skyline might look like, as seen from underneath Burnham Harbor

49 Submerged In Burnham Harbor— Yes, someone actually suggested that the museum should be underwater in Burnham Harbor.  Outlandish?  You bet.  Impossible?  Not at all.  A good idea?  No.  Whoever suggested this should have to go out there every morning from November through April and hack a hole in the ice so people can get in.

Uptown Theater - Chicago, Illinois - March, 2010 - 003a50 Uptown Theater (4816 North Broadway Street)— Another historic building that we don’t need to tear down.  Let it be rehabbed, not replaced.

51 Vacant Building (2 South Halsted Street)— A long-standing eyesore for Greektown, but just too small a space to do anything significant with.

52 Vacant Lot (State and Pershing)— Terrible transit access.  Next to a noisy freeway.  Way off the tourist circuit.  And right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  What’s not to hate?

53 Washington Park (5531 South Martin Luther King Drive)— See Douglas, Garfield, and Jackson parks above.

ZOMG! Don't build anything here that might block my view! We must protect this historic... parking lot.

ZOMG! Don’t build anything here that might block my view! We must protect this historic… parking lot.

54 Wolf Point (300 North Orleans Street)— There’s already stuff being built here.  Big stuff.

Meanwhile at Hogwarts...

Meanwhile at Hogwarts…

55 University of Chicago (5801 South Ellis Avenue)— The World’s Fairs are over.  It’s time to move on.

 

56 McCormick Place Truck Staging Area— An easy alternative if the chosen location doesn’t work out.  But if the NIMBLs make a successful legal case against killing the parking lot next to Soldier Field, they might be able to wage an identical war against this parking lot, too.

 

 

 

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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