I don’t normally post news bits unless it relates specifically to film or television, but this was just too good to pass up. Also because I couldn’t resist posting a piece about George Lucas that doesn’t argue the finer points of the Star Wars franchise. Let’s face it, that topic has been beaten into the ground, and seriously….we all know the truth. I know my truth anyway.
No, this is in fact about George the Businessman. It’s common knowledge that he likes the Marin, CA. area and has worked in that region for years and years. He bought up this big chunk of land in the picturesque Grady Ranch area of Marin County and had planned on building a massive film studio there. That is until the local homeowners association got their panties in a twist.
According to a story that was posted last week in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lucas was hoping to build a 263,701 square foot mission style digital movie studio, complete with all the amenities of course, (parking, etc.) on the Grady Ranch property. The Lucas Valley Estates HOA feels that Grady Ranch is not only in their backyards, but actually is their backyard and they don’t want it. Apparently their fear is that the complex is too big, hasn’t been studied enough and would create too much traffic. Now, keep in mind that Skywalker Sound has done none of these things and Lucas & Co. has been praised for the lack of impact that facility had on the area.
After spending 25 years and barrels of cash, Lucasfilm released this two page statement, officially dropping the idea of the studio due to the conflict with the HOA. It states:
It is with great sadness that Skywalker Properties has decided to pull its application to build a studio facility on the old Grady Ranch.
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.
We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough. Marin is a bedroom community and is committed to building subdivisions, not business. Many years ago, we tried to stop the Lucas Valley Estates project from being built, but we failed, and we now have a subdivision on our doorstep.
You would think that in times like this, where jobs are scarce, a community would want business in their area. It seems that Marin doesn’t need any such none-sense so Lucas is going to take his plans to infuse income and jobs to a city that will welcome such things. So what does Lucas plan to do with the area? That question is answered in the last paragraph of the statement, and for the residents of the area, it’s a zinger. I do love how they just seem to slip this in here:
We plan to sell the Grady property expecting that the land will revert back to its original use for residential housing. We hope we will be able to find a developer who will be interested in low income housing since it is scarce in Marin. If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit.
A movie studio that will generate income and jobs or low-income housing? Considering that housing prices in Marin are among the highest in the Bay Area, I’m thinking the good ole townsfolk aren’t going to take kindly to low-income housing being built in what they consider their backyards. Personally I would love to see this project happen. And Kudos to ole George for looking into this type of option.
It’s sad that they shot down his idea because as the statement says, ILM is a beautiful low impact building. I’ve been there personally and the campus is so serene that one could sit on the lawn and meditate. I’m not even joking. It’s beautiful and I imagine his proposed movie studio would be similar. Bad call Marin…bad call indeed.
As for needing an area for his studio…..well, let me just say hey George…I’m pretty sure I know of a city that would be most grateful for the opportunity to host such a development. Considering my office is with one mile of where you graduated high school, I know the area, and you’re history with the town of Modesto rather well. They say you can never go home again, but I’m pretty sure you can.Tags: George Lucas, George Lucas vs. Marin County, ILM, Lucasfilm