Chicago has come out on top in the intense competition for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
City Hall officials confirmed that the city has beat out San Francisco and Los Angeles for the museum, which will host more than 500,000 pieces of art and movie memorabilia from "Star Wars" director George Lucas' personal archives. The museum was initially supposed to be called the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, but the name change was announced Tuesday, along with the decision.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed building the museum on two parking lots located near Soldier Field and offered to lease the land to Lucas for $1, a similar arrangement other large cultural institutions have with the Chicago Park District.
Emanuel said in a news conference Tuesday that the museum will serve as a partner with the city's schools and an opportunity to create jobs.
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"I can't thank George and Mellody enough for choosing Chicago," Emanuel said. "This will be a tremendous opportunity, a significant step for the city. No other major American city has these types of cultural and educational institutions, with a great Northerly Island creating a vibrant, green museum campus unparalleled in the United States."
The proposal still needs to go through the Chicago Plan Commission and the earliest it would open is 2018.
Museum officials say the facility will be dedicated to narrative art -- the telling of stories visually, and that the key objective will be to inspire and educate future generations.
Chicago received the nod "because of the quality of the site proposed by the city's task force," and the "unparalleled visitor access" on the 17-acre site.
"Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in San Francisco," said Mr. Lucas, a native of Modesto, Ca.
San Francisco was pushing a piece of property near the water in its downtown area after city officials rejected the first targeted location.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti promoted the use of a #WhyLucasInLA hashtag to build support through social media. The museum would have been located near the University of Southern California, where Lucas attended film school.
Emanuel lobbied hard for the museum to come to Chicago but family ties likely played a part in the decision. Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago and the two share a home in the city.