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Los Angeles beats San Francisco for George Lucas museum site
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The force, it seems, was with Los Angeles. And San Francisco was left on the dark side.
"Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team were on the side of the City of Angels over the City by the Bay on Tuesday, choosing LA as the home of a museum that will showcase his life's work and huge film history collection.
After what organizers called "extensive due diligence and deliberation," they announced that the museum will be built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will sit alongside other more traditional museums including the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Lucas has been trying to build the museum, called The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, for nearly a decade, and is financing the project by himself with plans to spend over $1 billion.
The appealing project became the source of yet another heated rivalry between the two always-competing cities, with San Francisco offering Treasure Island with its scenic views in the middle of the bay as a home that the museum would have had virtually to itself.
"We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process," the museum organizers said in a statement.
It will house an extensive personal collection that includes 40,000 paintings, illustrations and film-related items including storyboards and costumes from "The Wizard of Oz," ''Casablanca" and of course "Star Wars."
LA seemed an obvious choice for Lucas, not just because of its film industry legacy. He is an alumnus of the film school at the University of Southern California, which is right across the street from the museum site.
But Lucas has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of his life, and it was home to Lucasfilm until Disney Co. bought it in 2012.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement after the decision that "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."
In addition to its two major museums, Exposition Park is home to the LA Memorial Coliseum, where the USC Trojans and Los Angeles Rams play football, and an under-construction stadium for a new Major League Soccer team, LAFC. A light rail line that opened just last year connects the park with downtown Los Angeles and the beaches to the West.
The project also comes amid a museum boom in Los Angeles that includes The Broad, a buzzing new contemporary art museum downtown.
And it makes Southern California the definitive home base of the Star Wars galaxy, with Disney having bought the rights to the franchise and now building a Star Wars-themed land within its Magic Kingdom in Anaheim.