After unsuccessfully seeking a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Parks aimed at blocking the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts earlier this month, the City of Chicago is seeking permission from a federal judge to begin construction on the lakefront site before the suit has fully run its course in court. The city fears that the non-profit group's legal challenge may place the whole project in jeopardy and warns the court of lost public benefit and squandered economic endowment should Lucas lose his patience and choose yet another city to house his extensive art collection. After the Star Wars creator's original plan for a San Francisco museum stalled in the quagmire of municipal government, Lucas picked Chicago specifically for the city's historical reputation of political determination and clout often trumping regulatory red tape. Mayor Emanuel promised rapid movement on the project and, with the administration's latest request to lift the construction injunction, it's clear that City Hall has its foot still firmly planted on the hyperdrive pedal.
The city's counter argument is also not without precedent. A comparable construction ban was repealed by a judge in April of last year when owners of the Chicago Cubs were granted permission to start work on view-obstructing enhancements to Wrigley Field while an active lawsuit between the ballclub and neighboring rooftop owners remained yet to be settled. The Cubs ultimately won the day, but not until after work on stadium upgrades had already substantially progressed. The next court appearance for the Friends of Parks' suit against the Lucas Museum is a status hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
·Chicago to judge: Let construction on Lucas Museum begin [Chicago Tribune]
·A New Hope for Lucas Museum's Lakefront Legal Challenge? [Curbed Chicago]
·Lucas Museum archives [Curbed Chicago]