Los Angeles beats San Francisco for George Lucas museum site

AP
  • FILE - This undated file concept design provided by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows a rendering of their proposed museum, just west and north of the Coliseum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, they have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of the museum that will showcase his work. After what organizers called an extremely difficult decision, they announced Tuesday that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside other more traditional museums. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP, File)

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    FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2014 file photo, George Lucas speaks at an event in Singapore. "Star Wars" creator Lucas and his team announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, they have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of the museum that will showcase his work. After what organizers called an extremely difficult decision, they announced Tuesday that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside other more traditional museums. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

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    FILE - This undated file concept design provided by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows a rendering of their proposed museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, they have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of the museum that will showcase his work. After what organizers called an extremely difficult decision, they announced Tuesday that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside many other more traditional museums. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP, File)

  • FILE - This undated file concept design provided by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows a rendering of their proposed museum, just west and north of the Coliseum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, they have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of the museum that will showcase his work. After what organizers called an extremely difficult decision, they announced Tuesday that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside other more traditional museums. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP, File)

  • 1

    FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2014 file photo, George Lucas speaks at an event in Singapore. "Star Wars" creator Lucas and his team announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, they have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of the museum that will showcase his work. After what organizers called an extremely difficult decision, they announced Tuesday that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside other more traditional museums. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

  • 2

    FILE - This undated file concept design provided by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows a rendering of their proposed museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team announced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, they have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of the museum that will showcase his work. After what organizers called an extremely difficult decision, they announced Tuesday that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside many other more traditional museums. (Lucas Museum of Narrative Art via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) The force, it seems, was with Los Angeles. And San Francisco was left on the dark side.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team were on the side of the City of Angels over the City by the Bay on Tuesday, choosing LA as the home of a museum that will showcase his life's work along with a huge collection of exhibits on film history and art.

After what organizers called "extensive due diligence and deliberation," they announced that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Exposition Park, where it will sit alongside the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Science Center, which houses the space shuttle Endeavour.

Lucas has been trying to build the museum for nearly a decade and is financing the project by himself with plans to spend over $1 billion.

It had several possible locations, but the choice eventually came down to perpetual rivals in Northern and Southern California.

San Francisco offered Treasure Island, with its scenic views in the middle of the bay, as a home that the museum would have had virtually to itself.

The museum will house Lucas's personal collection, which includes 40,000 paintings, illustrations and film-related items including storyboards and costumes from "The Wizard of Oz," ''Casablanca" and, of course, "Star Wars."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized that it would not be just "a Star Wars museum."

"This is a collection of narrative art in a city that has the best storytellers and story makers in the world," he said at a news conference.

"I am disappointed, of course, but must respect the decision," San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee said in a statement. "I am pleased that the museum will be built in California for our state's residents to someday enjoy."

LA seemed an obvious choice for Lucas, not merely because of its film industry legacy. He is an alumnus and major donor to the film school at the University of Southern California, which is right across the street from the museum site.

However, Lucas has strong San Francisco ties as well. He has lived in the Bay Area for most of his life, and the city was home to Lucasfilm until Disney Co. bought it in 2012.

Garcetti said the Exposition Park site will allow museum-hoppers to see movie-magic spacecraft and then walk over to see the real thing: the space shuttle.

"You can go from imagining space, to actually seeing how it got done," the mayor said. "You can see how we are inspired by the natural world, and see how we put it on the screen."

Exposition Park also is home to the LA Memorial Coliseum, where the USC Trojans and Los Angeles Rams play football, and an under-construction stadium for a new Major League Soccer team, LAFC. A light rail line that opened just last year connects the park with downtown Los Angeles and the beaches to the West.

The project also comes amid a museum boom in Los Angeles that includes The Broad, a buzzing new contemporary art museum downtown.

And it makes Southern California the definitive home base of the Star Wars galaxy, with Disney having bought the rights to the franchise and now building a Star Wars-themed land within its Magic Kingdom in Anaheim.

 

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