The surface parking lot in Grant Park along Chicago’s beloved lakefront will live a little longer. A federal judge has delayed ruling on a challenge to the injunction preventing construction from starting on the Lucas Museum for Narrative Art, which is slated to replace the parking lot.
Community group Friends of the Parks was granted the injunction last year. It keeps construction crews from starting work on the $700 million project which would erect a tent-shaped science fiction/fantasy/art museum next to Soldier Field, near the city’s Museum Campus. Hollywood director George Lucas’ foundation is paying for the project, which includes a lease for the parking lot space at a cost of $10 for 99 years.
It’s not the price, but the very possibility of a new museum on the lakefront that has Friends of the Parks’ hackles raised.
The city of Chicago petitioned the judge to lift the injunction because it was granted before the project had all of its necessary permits and approvals. Now that those are in line, the city believes construction should begin.
The judge will issue a ruling in April.
Smelling blood in the water, other cities have come sniffing around to see if they can lure the museum away from Chicago. Among them, Los Angeles and Oakland, California. The Lucas people originally decided to go with Chicago because they couldn’t work out a deal for parkland in San Francisco. The choice of the Windy City of the City by the Bay was seen as a major cultural coup for Chicago.