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George Lucas Donates Downtown Building to San Anselmo Chamber

Yoda and Indiana Jones are coming downtown as San Anselmo resident George Lucas, who recently made national headlines with his Grady Ranch project in Marin, has donated downtown San Anselmo property that will be turned into a park.

 

Filmmaker George Lucas has donated downtown San Anselmo property to the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce. The vacant building, at 535, 539 and 541 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 nonprofit 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. 

 

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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 that is now home to , 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.

Emily Brower Auchard June 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM
How do we thank George Lucas for these wonderful gifts to our community? I know I am very grateful for his investment in a public space for San Anselmo.
Michael Fahey June 23, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Just wait and see the worms who come out of the woodwork to oppose this. They will be putting themselves on display soon enough and we should begin to arm ourselves with rotten tomatoes to let them know what we all think of them.
Chris Ellinger June 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Are the murals still inside the old Rossi Brothers pharmacy? It would be a shame to destroy them.
David Edmondson June 24, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Do we really need another park in downtown? Counting town hall, this would make number 3...
anne June 24, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Totally! I love those. Also the vintage doors are so cool. It would be so great if it could be documented and/or parts of it conserved. That whole space is so neat and historical.
Arvid P. Sloan June 24, 2012 at 09:58 PM
As long as the yearly income to the city that the parcel would expect to produce is maintained by Mr. Lucas, I'm all for it.
Joanne Gini June 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Never enough parks. Better than two empty buildings that would need a lot of upgrading and in this economy I don't think that will happen.
Brian Jones June 25, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Yes people, vacant buildings are so much better than parks... I find it funny when people want to preserve the buildings before they are torn down, but don't make an issue when they are boarded up and slowly waste away... With that said I'm all for documenting it. Arvid the loss of property tax would hopefully be recovered in greater sales tax from more people flocking to the area (not a higher tax just more people spending money downtown).
Arvid P. Sloan June 25, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Where will the money to maintain the park come from? I cant afford anymore taxes on my fixed income.
Sarah Shideler June 25, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Thank you Mr. Lucas, what an incredible gift to our town. I look forward to helping and watching it develop as I know it will be an amazing gathering place for young and old for years to come. This is truly a fabulous opportunity and one that San Anselmo will welcome with open arms.
chris June 26, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Too many parks?? Seriously?
chris June 26, 2012 at 04:15 PM
This is a good way to make amends for Jar Jar Binks.
Cathy Day June 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I second this... Sarah. Mr Lucas is a wonderful neighbor and a very generous man. Thank you for caring about our town. Sign me up to help make this happen it will make for a terrific community project. San Anselmo Rocks and so do you Mr Lucas!
Pam Hartwell June 27, 2012 at 04:47 PM
A young friend of mine has suggested the park should include a Indiana Jones style adventure area!!
Lori Lopin June 27, 2012 at 11:38 PM
The murals will be going to the Spanish Consulate and the door handles will hopefully go to the San Anselmo Historical Society!
anne June 28, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Cool! The Spanish Consulate in S.F.? Glad to hear of the preservation efforts. Thanks for the update, Lori.
charles yo June 28, 2012 at 12:48 AM
you're just the man to remember them chris!
charles yo June 28, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Thank you, George. What an amazing gift to the people and families of San Anselmo. We have had enough of empty, decaying building. They do nothing for our town. As the owner of Marin Running Company, and local boy (Drake ’84), I can’t think of anything better than a park that provides both visitors and residents a place to congregate, to mingle, to play, to interact right in the middle of our town. After all, its hard to imagine a world where empty decaying building > beautiful park for kids and families. I'm certain there will be dissenters and naysayers about this project. There always are. I bet people disproved of Charles Schultz's contributions to Santa Rosa -- the ice skating rink, the museum, the statues of Charlie Brown and Snoopy downtown. You can't convince me that this is the wrong move for our town and community. And I’m glad that it is in the hands of the Chamber of Commerce, which has worked very hard for the businesses here in San Anselmo. And yes, the fact that my wife's favorite movie of all time is Raider's, and that I have had a deep abiding love for Star Wars has everything to do with our support. Like the Snoopy rink in Santa Rosa, the entire world loves those movies, and if those statues draw even a few hundred more people to San Anselmo each year, to the birthplace of Indiana Jones, to eat in our restaurants, to shop in our stores, to use our services, to visit our Carnegie Library, to walk our trails, then that's a great thing.
Dru Parker June 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Sick of Yoda I am.
Rick Sneed January 07, 2013 at 08:31 PM
GREAT RESPONSE!

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