The City of Chicago has formally asked for a 30-day reprieve from an ongoing lawsuit filed by the organization Friends of the Parks, noting that they are actively seeking a new site for the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. But that effort appears to be something of a legal “hail Mary”, as the City fights for the right to demolish a major building at McCormick Place, at considerable cost.
Friends of the Parks sued the City and the Chicago Park District to stop construction of the museum, on a site just south of Soldier Field. But in a motion filed today, the City noted that they are currently exploring an alternative plan, which would involve the a portion of the site currently occupied the McCormick Place Lakeside Center.
“The remaining land resulting from the demolition of Lakeside Center will be converted into twelve acres of new parkland, to be owned by the Park District for public use and enjoyment, with the new parkland maintained (by the Lucas museum) at its sole cost for 99 years,” that motion states, conceding that “various aspects of the proposed plan will require state approval through legislation enacted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.”
The total cost of the plan has been estimated at over $1 billion, with Lucas contributing over $700 million. Part of the plan would involve construction of new exhibition space. But the financing package also calls for restructuring certain taxes, and extension of McPier’s current borrowing authority .
The gambit appears to be a risky one, with even the City conceding that barring the necessary legislative action by the end of this session, the litigation should be allowed to resume.