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More like this, please

Monday, Apr 25, 2016

* Greg Hinz

It’s been pretty obvious since it was unveiled that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s rescue plan to keep the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago is the longest of long shots. […]

Let me float a third way that’s been the subject of some chatter. It’s not perfect, and it could require financial juggling down the road. But if it flies, Emanuel wouldn’t have to worry about filmmaker George Lucas taking his prized collection of art and all those tourists back to the West Coast, because construction already would have begun here.

The two-part idea: Put the museum back in its original location, which happens to be a windblown surface parking lot between Soldier Field and McCormick Place; that would provide a few acres of new green space in the process. Second, enact an ordinance or whatever legally binding step is needed declaring that, when the dilapidated Lakeside Center at the east end of the McCormick Place complex is demolished—you could even add a deadline—all of the land there will be returned to permanent park status, perhaps 20 more acres of it.

Friends of the Parks would have a real public benefit to brag about: not one, but two chunks of new park space. Lucas would be able to start construction on his museum this year. Emanuel would get both without having to spend a ton of money he doesn’t have. And while some of the space in the Lakeside Center (also known as McCormick Place East) eventually might have to be replaced with new exhibition space elsewhere in the McCormick Place campus, the city would have time to come up with a comprehensive plan.

That’s a pretty darned good idea, if you ask me.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - iroquois county dem - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 8:58 am:

    probably makes too much sense to go anywhere

  2. - Critic - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:13 am:

    Legally binding, lol

  3. - m - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:19 am:

    I’m pretty sure they’ve polled it and the museum is overwhelmingly supported by Chicagoans. Somewhere in 80-ish percent I believe.
    A small minority don’t want it and they’re killing for everyone else.

  4. - m - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:20 am:

    Sorry, “killing IT for everyone else”

  5. - ANON. - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:27 am:

    1) nobody asked you 2) put the Lucas Museum in Washington or Jackson Parks in an area that can use a economic boost

  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:31 am:

    ===2) put the Lucas Museum in===

    Nobody asked you, either.


  7. - Anon - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:35 am:

    ===That’s a pretty darned good idea, if you ask me.===

    I’m not really sure why Rahm thinks that he should really mess with something that literally has dozens of cities interested in it after Chicago was chosen.

  8. - SAP - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 9:40 am:

    I snickered at “legally binding” too, but even if the project never gets to phase two, it would add several acres of lakefront park space. I like Mr. Hinz’s thinking on this one.

  9. - Enviro - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 10:00 am:

    The Lucas Museum will go well with the Soldier Field flying saucer. This would be a win for science-fiction fans but another loss for the beautiful Chicago lake front.

  10. - A guy - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    If tax money is being used; it would seem “someone” is being asked. You could argue; everyone is. I like this idea too. The park space at the Lakeside center would be the best use of that property IMO. If we had to do it all over again, my guess is that Lakeside would not be built there.

  11. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 10:11 am:

    This would be a win for science-fiction fans but another loss for the beautiful Chicago lake front.

    FOTP members are already “averting their eyes” when they pass the Soldier Field saucer. This would only require them to glance away a few seconds longer.

  12. - Carhartt Representative - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 10:25 am:

    =I’m pretty sure they’ve polled it and the museum is overwhelmingly supported by Chicagoans. Somewhere in 80-ish percent I believe.
    A small minority don’t want it and they’re killing for everyone else.=

    Not the polls I’ve seen

  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    ===Not the polls I’ve seen ===


    The poll you’ve seen is an online survey of a certain website’s readers.

    That’s not a poll.


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    Obvious no one bothered to read the federal judge’s opinion. Still illegal because it is devoted to a private interest. All it takes is one disgruntled person to walk over to the courthouse …

  15. - Groucho - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 11:24 am:

    Time to throw in the towel and quit wasting anymore energy on this one. Let Lucas build this in San Francisco.

  16. - Responsa - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    I’d really like it if they could find a way to build the Lucas Museum here. The prestige and positive economic impact on international and national tourism for Chicago– let alone local attendance –would be significant.

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    They can build it “here.” They just can’t use park land for their own private interest. A vanity collection of Hollywood schlock run for private profit isn’t a public use. Plenty of other property in the City available.

  18. - Chicago 20 - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 12:00 pm:

    They cannot demolish the East building before the build a replacement building first without losing numerous large trade shows.

    The next problem is the MPEA cannot afford their current debt let alone taking on another $1 billion in new debt without adding significant new revenue sources.

    Th MPEA has lost a staggering amount of shows since the reforms while cutting what they charge trade associations for the floor space at McCormick Place.

    This loss of revenue for the MPEA coupled with the losses of the taxi surcharges and the State dragging their feet on funding the MPEA is creating a real cash crunch crisis for the MPEA.

    George Lucas’ $743 million will tide the MPEA over for a short period of time until someone can determine how the MPEA will stay afloat until it’s time to build again.

  19. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    Mr Hinz has a stronger plan than those currently on offer, but eliminating Lakeside Center could hurt Chicago’s tourism and convention industry enough that it cancels any gains from the museum.

    If they can get the convention industry on board with a plan now, do it. A promise to ==fix== it all later without a popular plan in place for replacing the convention space could turn into a boondoggle in the future.

    @Anonymous 11:01 also has a point.

  20. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    Is it too late to cancel the new basketball stadium for DePaul and put the museum there? /s

  21. - Just Me - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 1:34 pm:

    Sure, makes total sense. Let’s pass a law requiring something to happen at some future date. We did that with pension payment requirements and that worked wonderfully! Every pension payment has been made right on time since.

  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:03 pm:

    The amount of land occupied and whether the parking lot is uglier than the museum are red herrings. Judge Darrah held that a lawsuit could proceed under the public trust doctrine because the agreement gave Lucas exclusive control over the property. Neither the Rahm nor the Hinz plan address this fundamental flaw. This discussion is about as pointless as all of the various schemes to cut pensions in violation of the constitution. Stop enabling them by baiting on yet another diversion.

  23. - CEA - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 3:42 pm:

    What’s the status of the land along the river southwest of Roosevelt and Clark where Hilton and Caesars and Hizzoner wanted to build the casino in the 1990s? It’s a big parcel that could essentially be a satellite museum campus without losing any lakefront. You could even connect it to the museum campus by a light rail or monorail running along the St. Charles Air Line right-of-way, which basically connects the parcel with Soldier Field and which will be abandoned once the Grand Crossing rail connection gets built.

  24. - Joe D - Monday, Apr 25, 16 @ 5:48 pm:

    Will somebody please help me to understand why the old US Steel South Works at about 87th St and LSD | South Shore Drive is not the best site for Lucas - and dare I say it: Pres O’s monument? Have you been there? SPECTACULAR VIEWS. Good 20 min access via the IC | MetroElectric or LSD. AND life to part of the City that greatly needs it. AND add much more green space. Cheap at twice the price

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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