Since George Lucas' $700 million museum of illustrations and graphic art was spurned by San Francisco's Presidio board and shopped around to Chicago in 2014, and since it's mired in lawsuits in its adopted home, Chronicle architecture critic John King checked back in with former Presidio board Chairwoman Nancy Hellman Bechtle who is rather understandably a little smug about the turn of events.
"There would have been lawsuits up the wazoo,” he quotes her. "I don’t want to come out sanctimonious on this, but the trust board wasn’t established to make money for the city... We had oversight over public land. You take the oath to protect a special place, and that makes a difference.”
King speculates that the Board was trying to, in rejecting Lucas, get him to consider a less-grandiose vision or a slightly different location. But billionaire mayor whisperer Ron Conway represents one prevailing opinion from the time of the kerfuffle. After Bechtle lost her position when she was not reappointed by President Obama, he called her and some of her fellows “colluders” and thanked god that "the president of the United States got out the broom and swept out the trust.”
Is the museum as defensible now? Mayor Lee still thinks so, perhaps, with spokesperson Christine Falvey writing in that her boss "continues to believe that the museum and investment belong in San Francisco and the Bay Area, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with Mr. Lucas again.” Maybe if JJ Abrams was involved in the project, the force behind it would be a little stronger.