LucasFilm Pulls the Plug on Movie Studio Grady Ranch

LucasFilm says "enough is enough."

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After several public meetings on the merits of its proposed digital studio in Lucas Valley, Skywalkers Properties LTD. decided to withdraw its application for the project.

"The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors," the company stated in a press release Tuesday.

The 270,000-square-foot production studio, known as Grady Ranch, . , and the

According to Skywalker Properties, several movie projects they planned to shoot on sound stages at Grady Ranch are already in production and they can't wait for an approval.

"We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire, and if we are to stay on schedule we must act on those opportunities," the statement said.

Grady Ranch is one of three properties owned by filmmaker Geroge Lucas. The Skywalker and Big Rock ranches are located nearby the proposed Grady Ranch land. As the company grew, LucasFilm relocated the majority of their employees from Marin to San Francisco's Presidio due to the belief that Marin would not support the size of their facilities in a residential area.

The company managed to build Skywalker Ranch after a one year master plan approval and another year for the precise  development plan approval, but it took over 10 years for the county to approve the master plans for Big Rock and Grady ranches.

Many of the project’s supporters believe Grady Ranch would bolster economic growth by providing construction jobs now and high-paying technical jobs in the long term.

The Marin Economic Forum estimates that the withdrawal will result in a total of $216 million in lost revenue. The project would've created 690 jobs, with 463 jobs for the two-year construction phase.

"Every 100 employees hired by Lucas Company Productions to use within the new facility, there would be an additional 276 jobs created in Marin County," Marin Economic Forum interim CEO Robert Eyler told the Planning Commission in February.

"We're devastated," said Cynthia L. Murray, President of the North Bay Leadership Council. "LucasFilm is iconic and it's a tremendous loss to have them go elsewhere."

Challengers are not convinced that the economic boost would make up for the project’s scale and design, which some say is not consistent with the residential scenic area, or the potential environmental impact the project could have on the downstream of Miller Creek.

"We are surprised by Lucasfilm's announcement," the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association said in a statement. "There were clearly many factors involved in making this decision. We are sure that it was made with consideration for what is best for Lucasfilm."

Skywalker Properties plans to sell the land and revert it back to residential use.

"We love working and living in Marin," the statement said, "but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough.

What do you think about Skywalker Properties' decision to withdraw the application? Tell us below or on our Facebook page.

Sierra Salin May 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Here we go. George Lucas Does Something Likeable For a Change: Revenge on Rich Neighbors....http://www.movies.com/movie-news/george-lucas-grady-ranch/7883
Kevin Moore May 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Monahan was trying to get the Affordable Housing requirement moved from his development in Loch Lomand to his 33 North. That shift would have made 33 North have a very high percentage of Affordable Housing units. The point of affordable housing is to integrate all income levels, not concentrate them.
Kevin Moore May 15, 2012 at 03:14 PM
That would be a win-win.
Kevin Moore May 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I wonder how many people posting here actually read the EIR report? How much is "gut reaction" vs careful study? I skimmed through it. Marin needs high paying jobs and this would have been a huge win for Marin, but movie studios and high tech workers are notorious for working late into the night. Not to mention the need to truck in supplies. As a counter, I will say that in my many trips down Lucas Valley, I rarely see a car or truck pulling into Big Rock Ranch or Skywalker ranch. EIR's are the weapon of choice if you want to stop any project in Marin. I hope they get used to counter ABAG's hybrid recommendation / mandate for more housing in Marin and Sonoma. Huge issues like water, sewer, and other infrastructure seem to be glossed over. Focusing on projected population growth, job growth that is counter to the 2010 census report, and the transportation problems.
Stacey December 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I am so torn on this one. George Lucas has been a good neighbor in Marin, and the flat out slap in the face the Lucas Valley homeowners have dealt him really sucks eggs. They don't want a carefully planned, environmentally sensitive, job-producing expansion of the studio near their homes? Now they're going to have lots of traffic-generating housing projects built there, private spaces that they will not be able to hike through anymore. Serves them right, closed-minded fools... but the other people in the area who wanted the Lucas plans to go through are going to see their daily lives negatively impacted by the additional homes and traffic and congestion. These are negative impacts on their lives that would have been avoided if those selfish noisy few would have had a little more foresight. Now it's done, they've alienated Lucas, and they've ruined the quality of life for the people currently living there. The good thing is that Marin is indeed in sore need of more low income housing, and George has decided that is the use to which his holdings will go. Well, good luck Lucas Valley residents; a few short-sighted, selfish neighbors created this situation, and I hope you'll be happy with it. And, by the way, George, thank you for saving Amazing Grace Music.


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