The legal battle over lakefront property will continue as a federal judge has allowed the lawsuit filed by the Friends of the Parks to move forward.
The Chicago City Council approved a plan to build the $400 million Lucas Museum of Narrative Art last year, allowing George Lucas' team to build a 300,000 square foot structure on 17 acres of lakefront property just south of Soldier Field. Under the deal, which was also approved by the Chicago Park District and city Planning Commission, the land along Lake Michigan would be leased for 99 years at a cost of $10.
Friends of the Parks filed a lawsuit against the last year, arguing that the move violates public-trust laws because the space where the museum would be built used to be part of Lake Michigan and therefore should be designated for public use and protected.
"It has to be consistent with the public trust," Tom Geoghegan, the attorney representing the Friends of the Parks' case, said in November. "Just because they are arguing it is going to be for a public purpose doesn't give them a blank check to dispose of Park District land in any way they like."
Critics of the plan say the deal is another way in which city officials are making decisions that are not motivated by what is in public's best interest.
"The effort to give away public lakefront land to build the Lucas Museum amounts to yet another cover up by the Emanuel administration -- one in which the true motives behind this decision and the true cost to the public have not yet seen the light of day," Juanita Irizarry, Friends of the Parks' executive director, said in a statement.
A bench trial for the case has been scheduled for March 14.