Dianne Feinstein "Disappointed" George Lucas Decided to Build His Museum in Chicago

In a statement released today, Feinstein took aim at the Presidio Trust board for shooting down a proposal by Lucas earlier this year.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Sen. Dianne Feinstein and George Lucas.

    California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not hiding her feelings about George Lucas's decision to snub San Francisco for the site of his new museum.

    Feinstein tweeted and released a statement Wednesday, a day after news broke that Chicago had beaten out San Francisco and Los Angeles in the intense competition for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

    Feinstein's statement underlined tensions between Lucas and the Presidio Trust board, which snubbed an earlier proposal from Lucas.

    In her statement, Feinstein said that although Lucas had long been interested in building the museum in San Francisco, the Presidio Trust rejected the original proposal to house the museum at Crissy Field and subsequent attempts to find a suitable location in San Francisco failed.

    "San Francisco would have benefited greatly from this project, and it is truly a missed opportunity," Feinstein said.

    She added: “I appreciate Mayor Lee’s efforts but very much regret how George Lucas has been treated by the Presidio Trust Board over the past four years. I hope this incident leads to a thorough review and overhaul of the procedures used by the Trust.”

    At the time the Presidio Trust rejected a proposal by Lucas for a museum at Crissy Field to host his art collection, board Chairwoman Nancy Hellman Bechtle said that the project would not be the right fit for the location.

    Feinstein had been a big supporter of the proposal, along with Gov. Jerry Brown, San Francisco Myaor Ed Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    San Francisco city officials had pushed a waterfront property known as Seawall Lot 330 for the museum site, even hanging a banner in front of City Hall, reading, "George Lucas, please build your museum in San Francisco for the world to enjoy."

    In the end, Chicago won because of "the quality of the site proposed by the city's task force," and the "unparalleled visitor access" on the 17-acre site.

    "Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in San Francisco," said Lucas, a Modesto native.

    The Presidio Trust also expressed disappointment in Lucas's decision.

    “The Trust encouraged Mr. Lucas to consider an alternative world-class location in the Presidio with views of the Bay, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” Bechtle said. “Mr. Lucas decided not pursue this opportunity. We thank Mr. Lucas for his longtime commitment to the Presidio and wish him the best in Chicago.”