The film emperor may be striking back. For 25 years, filmmaker George Lucas tried to persuade his Marin County, Calif., neighbors to let him build a digital production studio on his ranch there, but the area’s residents thwarted the plan.
So Lucas has come up with an alternative for his Grady Ranch property: To build low-income housing on it.
In a letter posted online Lucasfilmwrote, “It is with great sadness that Skywalker Properties has decided to pull its application to build a studio facility.
Instead, the maker of some of the biggest box office successes of all time, including the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, intends to sell the property to the Marin Community Foundation (MCF), a non-profit that has already funded more than 2,500 units of affordable housing and will explore options for developing Grady Ranch.
Lucas had applied to the county planning commission for permits to build a 260,000 square-foot compound that would be used as a digital media production studio. The company claimed the facilities would create about 600 high-paying jobs.
“The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors,” Lucasfilm said in its statement. . . .
It may seem as if the affordable housing project is a way for Lucas to stick it to his opposition, but Tom Peters, the CEO of the Marin County Foundation disagrees. “I know Lucas and checked with him on that point personally and directly. It was essential that I was convinced that it was not done out of spite. I would not have accepted the project if I thought it was,” he said.
Read the rest here.