George Lucas a (Spiteful) Good Corporate Citizen

George Lucas

The George Lucas empire has finally struck back, turning an elongated and frustrating land development situation into a potentially positive boost for his (and Lucasfilm's) reputation as a good corporate citizen. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, for four decades Lucas has owned a large swath of land in Marin County in the North San Francisco Bay and has spent the past few years trying to transform it into a nearly 300,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art movie studio complete with daycare center, restaurant, gym and a 200-car garage. 

Local homeowners, however, repeatedly have thwarted his efforts because of concerns over construction activity and the additional foot traffic the studio would bring into the area. Fed up with the local homeowners association, Lucas released an official statement announcing his plans to abandon the project entirely.

Lucas also announced that he wants to sell the land to a low-income housing developer. "We plan to sell the Grady property expecting that the land will revert back to its original use for residential housing. We hope we will be able to find a developer who will be interested in low income housing since it is scarce in Marin. If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit," wrote Lucas in the statement. 

This seemingly vengeful move has a twofold effect on both his reputation: He has revealed himself as a good corporate citizen—and a spiteful neighbor. 

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  • Margaret O’Hanlon

    This story is a very local feud and I live down the street from Mr. Lucas, so let me weigh in. He is not a spiteful neighbor — he just rebuilt a music school in his neighborhood out of good will, for example. His contributions to this county have been enormous but there are always a group who fight him whatever the substance of his plans. The project on the “Grady property” had been approved after many years of planning with the county when a few disgruntled neighbors pretending to represent their neighbors got the Feds involved in the construction approval. With the apartment plan, Mr. Lucas is making a really good thing out of a really bad episode in his biz life. It might piss off those disgruntled neighbors, but it seems like they started out that way. Greating good from bad, a great PR move in my mind.

  • Helen Sanchez

    Why is it spiteful to promote affordable housing? It’s the right thing to do. Affordable housing in California is scarce and I applaud him for doing what he can to help hard-working families who are priced out of the real estate market. These days affordable housing does not take on the character of tenements created in the 1930s. There are wonderful developments that combine section eight housing with home ownership programs for middle class families that have actually stimulated blighted neighborhoods. It would seem that Mr. Mittenberg believes that low-income/lower middle class families make bad neighbors. What a shame.

  • PR News

    Perhaps “spiteful” and “vengeful” were the wrong words. “Determined” would have been a better choice. We were trying to make the point that Lucas was frustrated with his neighbors, and if wasn’t going to be allowed to use his property for one purpose, he was going to use it for another. Either way, he was going to put his property to use, despite the objections of his neighbors.