Park Pals to Lucas Lovers: Pants On Fire!

Lucas Museum drawing, courtesy of MAD Architects

Lucas Museum drawing, courtesy of MAD Architects

The latest salvo in the ongoing legal battle over the placement of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has community group Friends of the Parks virtually daring Hollywood director George Lucas and his outspoken wife Mellody Hobson to move the institution to another city.

In a 30 page court filing, FotP publicly doubts that the Lucas couple are so fed up with legal delays that they’re ready to ditch the Windy City in favor of California’s sunny shores because they are being blocked from putting up thier building in a Soldier Field parking lot.

Defendants’ plan to build a museum on the Lakefront does not constitute a public emergency. There is no reason the museum could not be constructed at the conclusion of this litigation, assuming Defendants prevail, and certainly no reason why Defendants could not at least await a ruling from the district court on their newly-framed Article III standing question. In characterizing their situation as a looming catastrophe, Defendants point only to the vague preferences of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) to go forward. But virtually every real estate developer would prefer to build now, rather than later. The annoyance of a non-litigant is no basis for the extraordinary remedy of a writ of mandamus.

The Friends are also ready to drag this out in court for years to come in order to prove their point, threatening to start the whole legal action all over in an Illinois state court.

Even if the Court dismissed the federal and state claims, Plaintiffs could – and would – proceed to bring the state claims in state court. To start over in state court would of course significantly delay resolution. In other words, it would not remedy the claimed harm—a “harm” that is nothing but the subjective distress of a non-litigant with the pace of litigation.

Mr. Lucas wants to spend $700 million of his own money to transform a surface parking lot south of Soldier Field into a museum of visual storytelling. FotP went to court to stop it saying it’s illegal to build on the Chicago lakefront.

The Lucas museum recently received the public support of the heads of the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago, all of which are located on the protected lakefront.

Location: 1559 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop


Author: Editor

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

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  1. Are FOTP deluded? insane, nuts, damaged, mental?

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  2. Chicago is $63.2 billion in debt for government pensions, health insurance and other debt. I would think we would do everything we could do to generate tax revenue? If someone is willing to invest $700 million to transform a surface parking lot south of Soldier Field into a museum… well that seems like a golden opportunity.

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  3. I have no affinity or love of the Friends of the Park, but in this case, I have to agree with them. A private party wants to spend $700 million on a lakefront museum……sounds great. EXCEPT, the lease renews for 297 YEARS – so by letting this private party spend that money and build that museum, you are effectively giving them ownership of that parcel of lakefront property indefinitely. What’s the stop that from then becoming a legal precedent to allow any business to develop the lakefront? NOTHING – and that’s the fundamental problem. I hear from every visitor to the city I know that the lakefront being as open as it is is one of the coolest things about Chicago – let’s keep it that way, okay? Our revenue problems can be solved in other ways.

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