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Park District approves George Lucas Museum lease

Zach Long

George Lucas's gigantic narrative arts museum (which still resembles Space Mountain) is one step closer to touching down on Chicago's lakefront. According to a report from DNAinfo, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners met earlier today and approved a deal to lease seven acres of city-owned land near Soldier Field to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. It's a sweetheart deal: $10 for 99 years, though Lucas will still be responsible for all costs associated with the construction and operation of the museum.

While the approval of the lease is a victory for the museum, the Friends of the Parks' lawsuit against the city (which was filed in January) could still derail the project. During a court date that is currently scheduled for November 10, a judge will hear the organization's arguments against the use of public land for the development of a private institution. The Soldier Field parking lot which is located on the site will be replaced with a $40 million parking garage that will be built nearby, using money contributed by the Lucas Museum.

According to recently amended plans released by the Lucas Museum, the 300,000 square foot facility will house a collection of art from George Lucas's personal collection, three theaters, a library and a rooftop restaurant. If it opens, the museum will allow visitors to learn important lessons about the narrative arts, including how to take advantage of a heartwarming tale of against-the-odds redemption to overshadow a controversial decision made by a group in the pocket of a shadowy figure.

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