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Poll: Is It Time to Give Up on the Lucas Museum Plan for Chicago?

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The mayor wants to keep fighting for the museum, but the latest plan presents a logistical and financial nightmare

The latest plan is to build the Lucas Museum at McCormick Place

As each day passes, the Lucas Museum plan for Chicago seems more and more like a long shot. The museum was dealt a devastating blow last week when a federal judge refused to throw out the lawsuit initiated by the Friends of the Parks group in November 2014. However, the mayor and Mr. Lucas have since shifted gears from the park property situated near Soldier Field to focusing on building the museum at McCormick Place. While the new plan could return acres of prized park space back to Chicago residents, building the museum at McCormick is already looking to be a logistical and financial nightmare.

The latest plan to demolish the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place and replace it with George Lucas' museum relies on a complex financing plan and would place an even greater burden on the cash-strapped Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. The city would also have to build new convention space at McCormick to make up for the loss of the Lakeside Center. And to allow McPier to borrow more money, the city would need the support of state lawmakers. Anyone familiar with the political deadlock in Springfield can assume that such a request will not be simple hurdle to overcome.

So, what should Chicago do at this point? There's no doubt that the Lucas Museum could be a big draw for the Museum Campus — early estimates suggested that the museum could see over 1 million visitors annually. And there's perhaps as much local support for the museum as there is against it. However, with all of the issues the museum is facing combined with other cities trying to lure Lucas away, it's looking like the chances of the institution being built in Chicago are more slim than ever.