Will the Lucas Museum Be Allowed to "Park" in the Park?

It could be that the proposed George Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts will end up being ushered in to Chicago by the “Empire” of Rahm Emanuel and the political powers that be.  They want to “steer” the huge spaceship-like showpiece in to Chicago, buttressed by as much as $400 million of Lucas’s own money, gracefully "parking" it in the lakefront space between McCormick Place and Soldier Field.  The rendering above is looking North with Soldier Field and the Museum Campus and the Loop in the background.

Or on the other hand, maybe the Rebels and their Jedi allies, in the form of the civic group “Friends of the Parks”, will shoot the Lucas Museum down, where it can join the Death Star in watery defeat!  (Rendering above initially published in the Chicago Reader). 

Yes, a November 2014 lawsuit was filed by the influential, 40 year old group called Friends of the Parks, claiming that the lakefront location is not owned by Chicago but is actually held in trust by the State of Illinois, and that the trust is required to maintain the space as “free and open”! 

I attended a forum on the Lucas Museum, sponsored by former newsman Andy Shaw’s Better Government Association and co-hosted by the esteemed Union League Club of Chicago, (shown above), and it was interesting to note that even though City Hall and the Chicago Park District had a full month’s notice of the forum they were evidently just too busy to attend. 

Speaking of huuuuge projects, a group of Chinese investors has announced a huge building project in the Lakeshore East neighborhood, between Michigan Avenue and Lakeshore Drive.  It will be an attractive set of three towers close to the Chicago River, designed by none other than Jeanne Gang and her Studio Gang architecture firm, award winning designers of the Aqua Tower. 

Called Wanda Vista Tower, it was originally slated to go 89 stories and stand as the third tallest skyscraper in town at 1,148 feet.  But the story goes that since 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture (remember the Beijing Olympics opened on August 8, 2008 or 8/8/08), the tallest tower of the three will “only” go up to 88 stories!

Speaking of Chinese investors, it was my pleasure recently to accompany my partner Lucien Lagrange and a group of Chinese real estate executives as they personally viewed a number of sites in both Chicago and New York City, whose skyline (above) is almost as nice as Chicago’s!  What an amazing experience, knowing that their decisions could eventually have such huge economic impact.

And speaking of Lucien Lagrange, the popular site Curbed Chicago (www.chicago.curbed.com), analyzed high end residential real estate transactions for 2014 and came up with the Ten Most Expensive Buildings in town.  These buildings reflect the best in design and amenities, and the market clearly recognizes their value.  I am proud to say that five of Lucien’s buildings were represented, including the Waldorf Chicago, shown above, coming in at Number One, the Park Tower at Third, and three others in the top ten!  

Stay warm everyone!

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