Filmmaker George Lucas has donated downtown San Anselmo property to the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce. The vacant building, at 535 San Anselmo Avenue, will be demolished and turned into a park complete with bronze statues of Indiana Jones and Yoda. See a rendering of the park, designed by the San Anselmo-based , at the right.
The announcement was made early on Saturday, June 23, when a crowd was slowly forming downtown for the .
Lucas, a San Anselmo resident who was spotted downtown early on Saturday, donated the property to the San Anselmo Community Foundation and is anticipating community outreach and donations to help build the town center project, said San Anselmo Chamber President Connie Rodgers.
Lucas has owned the property for roughly two years, Rodgers said.
On Saturday morning, a letter was posted on 535 San Anselmo Avenue that Rodgers wrote to Lucas earlier this month, asking him to donate the property. “Would you be interested in donating the land to our nonprofit organization … so that we could turn it into a park?”
“When the chamber approached him he was happy to donate the land to such a worthy cause,” Rodgers told Patch.
The timeline for the project will depend on the planning process, officials said. “This is going to be great for the city, it will increase revenues for the merchants and bring people to the town center,” Rodgers said.
Officials with the chamber said they don’t know exactly how much land has been donated.
San Anselmo town officials told Patch last week that Lucas has been a great neighbor in the San Anselmo community, most recently paying for the under-grounding of power lines on Miracle Mile near the San Rafael border and constructing a new building in the median of the road, across the street from , according to San Anselmo Town Manager Debbie Stutsman.
Lucas recently made the best of his stunning decision to pull the plug on his proposed film studio at his Grady Ranch property in North San Rafael by offering to work with Marin Community Foundation to bring affordable housing to Grady Ranch. The move capped a turbulent series of events in which Lucasfilm proposed a 269,000 square foot film studio on Grady Ranch but then faced staunch opposition from a group of Lucas Valley neighbors, who filed an appeal of the Marin County Planning Commission's February 2012 approval of the project.
Faced with a likely drawn-out approval process, Lucas withdrew all permits and applications for the project but has pledged to help the Marin Community Foundation's efforts to explore the possibility for senior housing, workforce housing and family housing on the location, according to MCF Executive Director Thomas Peters.