The Force is coming to Los Angeles.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as home for his latest venture: the Museum of Narrative Art. The museum will be situated near the University of Southern California, Lucas’ alma mater and utilize designs by Chinese architect Ma Yansong. It will feature memorabilia from Hollywood movies, such as Star Wars and The Ten Commandments, as well as paintings from Lucas’ diverse art collection, which consists of artists like Renoir, Norman Rockwell, and Degas. Lucas will bear the construction costs of approximately a billion dollars and will endow another $400 million to it. He made his fortune from the Star Wars franchise, which he sold to Walt Disney Co. (DIS) for $4 billion in 2012. (See also: Why Is The Star Wars Franchise So Valuable?)
Lucas has been hunting for a suitable location for the museum for some years now. However, his efforts have been met with resistance from local communities. For example, the museum’s original location in Chicago was shelved after local activists filed a lawsuit against his proposed site near Soldier Fields. He encountered similar resistance in San Francisco initially. The city later offered space on Treasure Island, an area only accessible by ferry from the city, for the museum. (See also: Will Star Wars Be The Biggest Film Of All Time?)
In a statement, Lucas said he chose LA because Exposition Park, which is where the museum will be located, will help the museum have the “greatest impact on the broader community.” The museum will add to the city’s coffers in more ways than one. It will lead to an influx of tourists from around the world, given the global appeal of Star Wars’ brand. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said the museum will lead to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and offered a “lowball estimate” of more than a thousand permanent jobs in the city. Garcetti said Exposition Park could become the Central Park of Los Angeles after the museum’s construction.