The seven member board of the Presidio Trust, a group that stewards a portion of land overlooking the San Francisco bay, has voted unanimously to deny a museum proposal from George Lucas. The “Star Wars” creator had pledged $700 million to build and endow the facility, which would have housed items from his own collection of popular art, including pieces by Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish.
Lucas’s proposal was one of three turned down by the Trust. The other two included a proposal that would maintain much of the Presidio’s open space while including displays on the history of the site and another that sought to build a science museum. The 8 acre area has been leased by retailer Sports Basement since 2004.
"We simply do not believe any of the projects would be right for this location," said board Chairperson Nancy Hellman Bechtle. "We didn't think any of them quite hit the mark."
The Trust has suggested there may be alternative spaces available for Lucas’s museum, though this suggestion has caused consternation among the Lucas camp. "For four years, we have been told that the only site available is the Sports Basement site, and we have worked and reworked our plan to make it work," said David Perry, spokesperson for Lucas. "Now, literally in the past few hours, we hear there is an alternative site." Perry went on to note that Lucas would continue to work with the Presidio Trust, though they would also now consider other locations.
Supporters of Lucas’s proposal include Gov. Jerry Brown, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Presidio of San Francisco was first fortified in 1776 and has been administered over time by the militaries of Spain, Mexico, and the United States. It has been administered by the National Park Service since it was closed as an active military installation in 1994.
Image via Wikimedia Commons