City Council

City Council Gives Lucas Museum the Go-Ahead

The Lucas Museum passed its final big hurdle to becoming a reality near Chicago's lakefront when City Council gave full approval for the museum plans in a vote Wednesday.

The "Star Wars" director plans to build the 300,000-square-foot museum, called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, along Lake Michigan near Soldier Field.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Park District approved a deal to lease seven acres of land near Soldier Field for the project. A week later, a city zoning committee recommended approval of the museum.

The museum faces one more snag, however. The non-profit group Friends of the Park, which is lobbying to keep the museum from being built on public land along the lake, has filed a lawsuit against the museum. The group argues that the museum will ruin the character of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Those behind the plans for the museum intend on building and maintaining several thousand square feet of new greenery along the lakefront. They say the construction and maintenance of the facility and green space will not cost Chicago taxpayers, however.

The same day that City Council voted to allow museum plans to proceed, the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Park District reached a deal concerning game-day parking, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Among the conditions of the agreement is the relocation of tailgating spots on the south lot to the "event prairie" tailgating lawn, the top of a new parking garage on 18th Street and "various other places on the museum campus in Grant Park," the Sun-Times reports.

Construction on the museum is slated to begin no sooner than March 1 with an opening date as early as 2019, according to The Associated Press.

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