Not everyone thrilled about proposed George Lucas Museum site - FOX 32 News Chicago

Not everyone thrilled about proposed George Lucas Museum site

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CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

"Star Wars" fans can rejoice.

George Lucas, creator of "Star Wars," has selected Chicago to house his much anticipated museum of art and movie memorabilia.

"It's epic, it's like for our generation, for the new generation, it's for the generations to come," said Kendra Rickert, who is visiting Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he'll work with the community to develop plans for the museum that Lucas intends to build. Emanuel spoke Tuesday at City Hall about the filmmaker's decision to locate his planned Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on a parking lot south of Soldier Field.

The mayor said he "can't thank George and Mellody enough" referring to Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, a prominent businesswoman who's from Chicago.

"This is a milestone for the city, but it's just one milestone on a journey as we build this new museum that is a part of the history, part of the cultural, educational legacy of the city that actually makes Chicago a unique place, a vibrant place for every neighborhood, every child and every family," said Emanuel.

But not everyone is on board to have the park located in that location.

"We are thrilled the facility is coming to Chicago, we do not oppose that. We oppose the site. We will work with Mr. Lucas. One of the many sites to look at is Michael Reese Hospital," Friends of the Parks President Cassandra Francis said.

Francis went on to say the location would violate policies that the city put in place back in 1973.

"We will do what it takes and that very well may be a lawsuit,” Francis said. “We are in coalition-building mode, but we are very optimistic, based on discussions, that we will have a broad group of organizations joining us."

Lucas said in a written statement Tuesday that he hopes to open the museum in 2018. The statement said the museum will move existing parking spaces underground and replace acres of asphalt with more parkland along the lakefront.

Architectural drawings will be presented to the city in early fall. The museum won't be completed until 2018.

People around Chicago seem to agree that the force is strong with the windy city.

"It's got one of the densest areas, it's got the people to come and see it, it's not all spread out like some of the other cities in the U.S. are," said Chicagoan Bill McMichael.

Another Chicagoan, E. Lynn Tucker, chimed in, "Yeah, it'll be a good thing for Chicago, hopefully bring more jobs."

The decision is a major victory for the nation's third-largest city, which was locked in a battle for the museum with San Francisco. Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, confirmed that Lucas had selected Chicago.

The selection was somewhat of a surprise, given Lucas' close ties to San Francisco and California: He is a native of the state, Lucasfilm's visual effects division is based in the city and the headquarters for LucasFilm and Skywalker Sound is across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. Los Angeles had also bid for the museum.

But Emanuel, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff, pushed hard for Chicago, just as he is pushing hard to persuade his former boss to build his presidential museum in the city. Chicago was always given a good chance, in large part because Lucas' wife is from Chicago and Chicago closed down Promontory Point on the lakefront so the couple could host a star-studded party to celebrate after Lucas' California wedding.

And even Lucas called Chicago his "second home."

The city offered up a slice of real estate along the Lake Michigan shore that is near other attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. At the same time, San Francisco suffered a setback when the city rejected Lucas' first choice of a location near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Emanuel has long been trying to portray Chicago as a global destination, and throughout the decision process, a spokesman for Lucas praised Chicago for the attention it heaps on culture, architecture, innovations and education - some of which are the themes Lucas' museum will seek to promote.

FOX 32's Lisa Chavarria and Anita Padilla contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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