February 6, 2014

Presidio Trust Tosses Lucas A Hail Mary, Alternative Museum Site

With the Presidio Trust having rejected George Lucas' proposal for a Lucas Cultural Arts Museum to replace the current Sports Basement building down on Crissy Field, Lucas is officially shopping his museum plans, art, and endowment to other cities, the frontrunner of which is thought to be Chicago.

In an attempt to save face, and hopefully the museum, the Presidio Trust is now offering Lucas an alternative site just west of Lucas’ Letterman Digital Arts Center on which to build, near the Presidio’s eastern entrance on Lombard. It's a move Lucas' spokesman characterized as "a hail Mary."

While the exact location of the alternative site has not been disclosed, the undeveloped parcel adjacent to the YMCA at the intersection of Presidio and Lincoln Boulevards is a likely candidate, assuming it's not the YMCA parcel and parking lot itself.

First Published: February 6, 2014 7:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Eminently sensible - a better site than the Sports Basement, in fact. I'd even support returning the S.B. site to nature under this scheme.

Too bad there's so much bad energy between the parties now that it'll probably not happen...

Posted by: Sierrajeff at February 6, 2014 9:02 AM

He'll only take that location if he can build high enough for GG views.

Nancy Bechtle doesn't want his Star Wars museum anyway -- this is mostly theatre.

Posted by: Joshua at February 6, 2014 9:26 AM

Offer him Pier 30-32 as long as he keeps his neoclassical monstrosity below 40 ft in height. Double NIMBY whammy.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at February 6, 2014 9:35 AM

Let him take his little stucco box to Chicago.

Posted by: Futurist at February 6, 2014 9:49 AM

I'll bet if he builds in Chicago it won't be a "stucco box". That city has a pretty rich architectural vocabulary and history and it does NOT include stucco.

Posted by: Arch at February 6, 2014 10:26 AM

Don't understand why so many people in a city with its economy so heavily tied to tourism (which will still be an economic force long after the tech industry's moved to Mumbai or low earth orbit) are so glib about losing a museum to another city. Sure it's not the Smithsonian or the Prado, but nevertheless it will be a draw for people from around the world - and it's a good tie-in with the Disney museum and the existing Lucas Arts buildings.

Posted by: Sierrajeff at February 6, 2014 11:08 AM

Same reason people hate on "techies" and vandalize Google buses. Lucas is successful. And as much as I hate to give any credence to a conservative talking point, when it comes to San Francisco it's unfortunately true that the successful are vilified. It's basic socialist mob mentality.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at February 6, 2014 11:27 AM

Not true formidable. You're way off.

His success is fine and it's deserving. No one, to my knowledge, is vilifying his success, money and film making.

But. The architecture he is proposing (and funding) smacks of fakeness and stage-set design, attempting to pretend we (he) are back in the early 20th century. The design is not even a good replica of neo-classical design. It's cheesy, boxy, cheap looking and irrelevant.

Chicago may not put up with the "stucco box" approach. At the very least they will demand he clad his little fantasy in stone, granite and steel.

But hopefully, they will require him to design and build a building worthy of the great modern architecture that is part of Chicago's tradition.

Posted by: Futurist at February 6, 2014 11:48 AM

BUILD IT! I hope he stays but I don't blame him and I agree with formidable!

Posted by: MARINABOY at February 6, 2014 12:20 PM

I can almost hear the wooshing sound of Rahm Emmanuel's arms opening wide for this one. He will get Lucas his own personal wing at the Art Institute.

Posted by: g at February 6, 2014 1:01 PM

i agree with formidable too. 70% of the town hates success

Posted by: moto mayhem at February 6, 2014 1:52 PM

The alternative location is a great idea, with much easier access for cars. Let's hope Lucas goes for it.

Posted by: Dan at February 6, 2014 2:10 PM

Futurist, it's possible the Presidio Trust's decision was based on the architecture of the proposal, but that's not the question I was answering. Read Sierrajeff's post again.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at February 6, 2014 4:45 PM

I agree with formidable 100%. SF is usually such a live-and-let-live city, but the class wars and jealousy here in the city is unbelievable. What irks me the most are the activists fighting the employment shuttles. I don't take them, but they're great for reducing traffic congestion and parking woes by enabling more people to go without cars or at least without daily commutes to SV. The real reason most activists fight the buses is that they hope to drive out the Google/Apple/Facebook employees who make more money then them and are blamed for rising housing prices. Yet these same activists who rail against high rents are often the ones blocking new housing with initiatives like the new Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act. And the 8 Washington development they blocked would have added $11 million to the affordable housing pool AND added market rate units too.

I guess I've gone a bit off topic though. Regarding this museum, I really hope it gets built in SF somehow. It seems like it would be better to have it in the museum/cultural district near Yerba Buena gardens.

Posted by: Gordon at February 6, 2014 7:18 PM

People hate the Lucas proposal because they are either snobs (Presidio trust) or anti-success. They complain about the architecture of the building, but forget that the buildings around and including the Sports Basement are ugly, utilitarian former military structures. None of the buildings looks anything remotely like San Francisco architecture. The people who want more green space would rather have a rotting hulk of a building and a parking lot than anything new. The people who want the Lombard gate option forget that the traffic there is horrible during the commute hours and it is a tiny, two-lane gate that will easily back up if a museum is opened there. Finally, the Presidio screwed up already by rejecting the Gap museum, by dictating how the Disney Museum would just resemble all the other Presidio buildings, and by rejecting Lucas. People drive by the Disney museum all the time without even realizing it is there. And, if the parking outside is any indication of attendance, it is very small. Simply put, the Presidio Trust has a history of making poor decisions regarding museums. I fully expect Bechtel to approve some silly project once Lucas goes away. I would not expect Lucas to accept the new space, and I highly doubt that the Presidio Trust would offer an undeveloped area. They are probably offering some under-used office space for the museum. Bye-bye $700 million dollars.

Posted by: jabbadahutto at February 9, 2014 9:12 AM

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