George Lucas’ museum moved closer to touching down on the lakefront, getting the go-ahead Thursday from the Chicago Plan Commission for zoning changes needed for the proposed 300,000-square-foot building.
Plan Commission approval was hardly in doubt because Mayor Rahm Emanuel appoints its members, and the mayor has staked his reputation as a guy who gets things done, shepherding the Star Wars filmmaker’s vision for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
The vote was 12-1, with Commissioner Juan Carlos Linares the dissenter, saying he couldn’t vote for something to be built east of Lake Shore Drive and that the Park District should have gotten a better deal for the prime land.
Park District officials made the case that the Lucas deal will be similar to those of other museums on park land.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit Friends of the Parks is suing the Park District, arguing that the museum will violate the public trust because it will be built on the submerged waters of Lake Michigan and asserting that it is not in residents’ best interests. The next court date is scheduled for Nov. 10.
The zoning application still needs City Council approval. The council Zoning Committee is scheduled to have a hearing on the issue Tuesday.
Officials from the museum board said Thursday that if there are no delays, they could break ground next spring and open the doors in 2019.
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originally posted by chicagotribune.com