Visionary Star Wars creator George Lucas is no stranger to drawn-out, episodic battles. Most recently, the filmmaker was spurned by the Bay Area when the Presidio Trust rejected his illustration museum, which might these days be a particularly stinging blow because he hasn't been able to stick a landing in Chicago.
But Lucas was first bested by his Marin County neighbors over plans to build a massive LucasFilms studio on his SkyWalker Ranch property. After a 15-year feud, Lucas pulled the plug on the idea in 2012. At the time he made a vague but ominous threat: On the land where his studio could not be built due to the opposition of NIMBY neighbors, he would build affordable housing, the Marin County equivalent of a Death Star.
Now, reports CBS5, Lucas is making good on the plan. The 70-year-old billionaire has just filed a proposal to build 224 units on land next to his home. With 120 two-and three-bedroom homes for low-income workers and 104 residences for pensioners, it would be one of the largest affordable housing projects in the Bay Area. Also in the plans: a community center and pool, an orchard, and a farm or garden.
The development could cost $200 million and take up 52 acres of the Grady Ranch estate near Skywalker Ranch. Lucas plans to pay all costs himself, which will allow him to choose who lives there and complete construction by 2018. What's $200 million to a guy who has pledged to give away more than $2.5 billion? In 2010 Lucas took Bill Gates' and Warren Buffet's Giving Pledge to donate half his fortune, which Forbes puts at around $5.1 billion.
In 2012 Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney. At the time, he said of the $4 billion deal, "Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products." He serves as a creative consultant on Star Wars Episode VII which comes out in December.
According to Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, ,"George Lucas said, 'If I'm not going to do what I wanted to do there, what can I do that would be really beneficial to this community?'"