Score this a victory for SoCal. George Lucas has chosen Los Angeles as the site of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

The USC alum said today that the billion-dollar project will be built in L.A. campus-adjacent Exposition Park rather than on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Speculation in the rival California cities about the site for the museum, which will celebrate the art of visual storytelling, had been simmering for months.

“Art exists to inspire, to move, to educate and to excite,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Thanks to George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, millions of Angelenos and visitors will enjoy an extraordinary collection anchored in storytelling — an art that carries so much meaning in the history and legacy of Los Angeles.”

The museum board’s announcement today said the facility will generate more than 1,500 new construction jobs and 350-plus permanent jobs with no cost to taxpayers. Lucas and Hobson, who chairs the DreamWorks Animation board of directors, are investing more than $1B in the project.

Designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects (see artist renderings above and below), the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be erected near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — newly revitalized as the home of the returned Los Angeles Rams — and several museums. It also will neighbor the University of Southern California, where Lucas went to film school and to which he has donated at least $175 million to create a new home for the film program that he renamed the USC School of Cinematic Arts. 

At the start of the decade, Lucas planned to build the museum at the Presidio in San Francisco. Then, back in summer 2014, the Lucas Museum was headed to Chicago, on a site adjacent to Soldier Field and Lake Michigan. Both plans were opposed by local groups concerned about construction in historic areas.

The Lucas Museum will house the Star Wars mogul’s personal art collection and his Hollywood memorabilia. Its website says the facility will “will present original work by world renowned and emerging artists, cutting-edge digital technologies, and daily film screenings in state-of-the-art theaters, as well as extraordinary educational opportunities for students of all ages.” It also “will feature a bold new architectural design and will be a one-of-a-kind gathering place to experience collections, films and exhibitions dedicated to the power of visual storytelling and the evolution of art and moving images.”

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