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Los Angeles prevails on Lucas Museum choice

Despite heavy lobbying by Mayor Ed Lee and support from the Board of Supervisors, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art board Tuesday voted to build in Los Angeles instead of San Francisco.

The board opted for a seven-acre site in Los Angeles’s Exposition Park over a location on Treasure Island.

The museum board of directors said in a statement:

“While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship. … Exposition Park is a magnet for the region and accessible from all parts of the city.”

Mayor Ed Lee today said he was “disappointed” but proud of the way the city worked together on the museum bid.

“Most of all, I am proud that our City came together like never before to deliver a bold vision and thoroughly viable plan for the museum, in an iconic location in the heart of the Bay Area, with 100 percent political and community support.”

The decision marks the third unsuccessful attempt to bring the museum to San Francisco.

The Lucas museum had originally intended to develop a site in San Francisco’s Presidio and worked with the Presidio Trust for more than four years on plans to build near Crissy Field.

However, the Presidio Trust eventually turned those plans down in 2014, saying they were incompatible with the character of the site’s National Historic Landmark status and national park setting.

Lee, who criticized the trust’s decision as “unwise,” then worked with city and business leaders to propose an alternate site along the Embarcadero for the museum.

The museum board instead chose in June of 2014 to go with an offer from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but that site soon became bogged down in litigation, causing the board to reconsider once again.

In the days leading up to today’s vote, Lee posted positive statements about San Francisco’s museum bid on Twitter, including a shot of himself with museum supporters on Treasure Island, with the words “The wisest choice for the George Lucas Museum, San Francisco is.”

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