EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

George Lucas is about to rile up his rich California neighbors by building his own affordable housing project

George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, is well known for his charity. After he sold his movie studio Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion in 2012, he pledged to donate much of the sales to education. And now, he’s giving back again, but this time it’s at the expense of his wealthy San Francisco Bay Area, California neighbors who previously did him wrong.

In 2012, Lucas wanted to build a 265,000-square-foot production studio on his Grady Ranch property in Marin Country, California, an area whose median household income is $90,000 ($30,000 more than the California average). His neighbors protested, arguing that the project would be noisy and ugly and create more traffic. They put up enough of a fuss that Lucasfilm had to abandon the project.

It would be fitting if Lucas’s next move, while surely altruistic at heart, were at least partially motivated by revenge. He now wants to build a huge 224-unit low-income housing development on his property (where the studio would have been). The 52-acre project will cost an estimated $200 million, which the 70-year-old Lucas will pay himself. According to the Daily Mail, Lucas’s representatives said that the proposal is “not a form of retaliation.”

The project, which is currently only a proposal, would also feature a community center, a pool, gardens, a farm, multiple bridges, and a bus stop. The proposal will now be reviewed by Marin County officials before being presented to the county’s board of supervisors for approval.

If Lucas’s neighbors are thinking of protesting again, they’d be wise to remember that this time, it’s not a lavish movie studio they’re up against, it’s housing for people who might actually need it.

“We have enough housing for millionaires here,” Lucas told his lawyer Gary Giacomini, according to CNN. “We need some housing for regular working people.”

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