By Jennifer Chaussee
(Reuters) - San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has offered George Lucas 2.3 acres of waterfront real estate in hopes that the director will locate a proposed arts and culture museum in the city, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said on Friday.
The proposal, which was sent to Lucas on Thursday, heats up a competition between Chicago and San Francisco for Lucas’s planned art museum, where he will house his personal collection.
"This is the most iconic site we could offer up,” said Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office. “It's right on our waterfront and right by our Bay Bridge and AT&T park."
The planned museum will feature Lucas's collection of fine art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries as well as children's art and digital animation he has collected, David Perry, a spokesman for the project, said.
Lucas, who is from Northern California and visited his first museum in San Francisco, has worked with the city on a number of projects and has a significant presence within its cultural realm, Falvey said.
Lucas had originally intended to build the museum in the Presidio, an area near the Golden Gate Bridge that is protected from development under a land trust.
The organization overseeing the land ultimately rejected Lucas’s proposal, and Lee formed a staff to find an alternate site.
A competition developed when Chicago offered Lucas a 17-acre site, a move that made Chicago a front-runner for the museum. Lee shot back on Thursday with his own proposal in hopes of luring Lucas to the West Coast with promises of sunny weather.
Lucas has yet to respond to Lee’s proposal, but the team in charge of the museum project expects to make a decision about where to build the museum sometime this summer, Perry said.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Leslie Adler)