“George felt very strongly that he didn’t want to have Chicago spinning its wheels while the Presidio was the only option on the table. But after the emphatic decision in February, George said, `Chicago has approached us and we’re going to speak seriously with them.’ And that’s when we started speaking seriously,” said Lucas Museum spokesman David Perry.
“The mayor’s office has said, `We are very interested in finding a possible site for you in Chicago.’ George is very excited that Chicago understands the educational and philanthropic gift this museum represents. This is a gift of philanthropy worth well over $1 billion considering the art, warehouse, museum and future endowment heretofore made by Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller and Smithson. We are looking for Chicago to tell us where they would like us to be.”
David Spielfogel, a senior adviser to the mayor, said it’s too soon to say where the museum would be located or whether it would be on park district land similar to the arrangement the city has with other lakefront museums.
“We’re not offering taxpayer funds, but we might do a lease like other non-profits get,” he said.
“The hope is that, over the next two months, we can engage the public to find the right location. We’re in a very strong position to make a very competitive proposal.”
Spielfogel argued that Chicago “offers things that no other city in America can offer” to Lucas, in part, because of Emanuel’s “commitment to education and innovation.” What does the museum offer Chicago?
“It’s an incredible science, technology and educational institution. And, as part of our effort to elevate Chicago on the national and international level, it will be a tremendous draw for tourists and other visitors,” he said.
Perry portrayed Chicago as a “very, very serious contender but not the only contender.” He also made it clear that San Francisco is still in the running after offering an alternative, less desirable site.