SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — A group
governing a swath of prestigious federal park at the northern edge of
San Francisco rejected proposals from the film director George Lucas and
two other bidders on Monday to build cultural centers on a prime plot of
the parkland, officials said.
The board of directors for the Presidio Trust, a federal agency
created to preserve and repurpose a park and former military base
known as the Presidio, will hold off granting rights to the
eight-acre (3.2-hectare) piece of land, currently occupied by a
sporting goods retailer, board Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said in a
"All three proposals are excellent expressions of generosity and
vision for this iconic location," Bechtle said. "After much
deliberation, however, we have determined that none are right for
this landmark site at this time."
The board offered the "Star Wars" director an alternative location
to house his populist arts museum, which he first proposed four
In a statement following the board's decision, Lucas said he and his
team had begun reviewing several other offers for alternative museum
"I want to thank all the people, especially educators and young
people, who have written in to voice their support for the cultural
arts museum," Lucas said.
The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum (LCAM) would display a 10,000-piece
permanent collection of art ranging from works from fine art to
digital animation and would feature rotating works from around the
world. The permanent artwork would include pieces by Maxfield Parish
and Norman Rockwell as well as props from Lucas's films.
The proposed center would include five expansive galleries, a
200-seat theater, 75-seat lecture hall and 2,000 square feet (185 sq
meters) of multi-purpose rooms, according to the project's website.
The board also struck down final proposals from the
Bridge/Sustainability Institute that proposed a cultural center
focused on environmental and economic issues, and the Golden Gate
National Parks Conservancy, which planned to build a center "that
explores the intersection of people and the environment," according
to the board.
The three groups launched lengthy and contentious campaigns to build
their institutions on the Sports Basement site, which sits across
from a planned roadway, set to open in 2016, that will connect to
the famed Golden Gate Bridge.
Eighty percent of the Presidio is governed by the Presidio Trust,
while 20 percent is under the jurisdiction of the Golden Gate
In 1996, Congress created the Presidio Trust, which in addition to
preserving and restoring the park, has been tasked with finding
private projects to generate revenue to maintain the grounds.