Still Holding Lucas Museum Hostage, Park Pals Have Ransom Demand List

Rendering of the Lucas Museum for Narrative Art replacing the McCormick Place Lakeside Center

Rendering of the Lucas Museum for Narrative Art replacing the McCormick Place Lakeside Center

After nearly suing the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art out of existence, Crain’s Chicago Business reports that gadfly group Friends of the Parks has a list of what it wants from the city in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.

Crain’s describes the enumeration as a “wish list,” as if it was Ralphie asking Santa for an official a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle.  But considering that the unelected, self-appointed protectors of Chicago’s lakefront are holding the museum project hostage, the correct description is “ransom.”

Among the group’s reported demands:

  • No more lakefront development in Chicago for the next century
  • Finish DuSable Park, a project stalled by the failure of the Chicago Spire project, but currently the responsibility of friends-of-the-blog Related Midwest, which now owns the Spire property
  • 5% of museum revenues put into a fund for parks in “disinvested” neighborhoods
  • Transform FotP’s cherished Soldier Field parking lot into a permanent non-parking, yes-tailgating green space

Meeting those conditions, and a couple of others, would allow the city and the museum to move forward with Plan B, which is to demolish the McCormick Place Lakeside Center and replace it with the museum, costing taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion dollars.  The original plan would not have cost the taxpayers anything.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times, which has been consistently out front on this story, reports that patience is growing thin in the Lucas camp. At the same time, both Los Angeles and San Francisco are upping their antes to woo the museum to the west coast.

McCormick Place - Chicago, Illinois - July, 2009 - 008a

The McCormick Place Lakeside Center


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. I remember the days when the City of Chicago had pull and power to do anything. (I’m more or less referencing Mayor Richard M. Daley.) Remember when he simply shut down Meigs Field by tearing it up….no public court battles or long winded fights with non-profit groups and had there been some group complaining you could be sure Daley would put them in there place.

    Maybe the city needs to jack up the taxes 1000% in whatever building the FOTP is located in. You know the Chicago way. ;)

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  2. It seems to me that the original “parking lot” site is part of the area specifically designated by the city as a “museum campus” to showcase and develop museums. Such institutions are “corralled” there deliberately to PROTECT the rest of the lakefront. The Field Museum’s original site at the (future) Buckingham Fountain was moved to Burnham Park to protect Grant Park from development. Logically, the Shedd and Adler were added near the Field. Why doesn’t the once-respected Friends-of-the-Parks understand the concept?

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  3. these friends of the parking lots are out of their freaking minds… yeah lets deny something due to our stubbornness and if you really want this here its going to cost the city 1.2 billion dollars instead of ZERO all because of some non applicable antiquated rule… good grief, why are we even listening to these twerps, they aren’t elected officials, just obstructionist morons! Judge should have looked at the old plat and thrown the case right out the window.

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