Back in 2012, George Lucas of Star Wars fame wanted to build a studio on Grady Ranch in Marin County, California. His wealthy neighbors had objected to the idea, citing traffic and environmental concerns. In fact, the neighbors went so far as to threaten to sue Lucas, who decided to build the studio somewhere else. He later released a statement noting that other communities had welcomed the studio as a “creative asset.”
Roughly three years later, history may or may not repeat itself. According to the Centra Costa Times, Lucas has submitted plans to the county Community Development Agency for an affordable housing project. It will include a community center, a pool, an orchard, gardens, 104 apartments for seniors, and 120 apartments for people of working age. The latter apartments will all have two or three bedrooms which suggests they will be largely for families.
The apartments will be offered to people like nurses and teachers who earn less than 80 percent of the median income in Marin County, plus seniors getting anywhere between 30 and 60 percent of that median. In Marin County, the median income for a family is $90,839. That means that Lucas will be offering his project to people who make $72,000 a year or less.
Moreover, Lucas is paying for the whole thing himself, and it will cost him $150 million. Given that he sold the Star Wars franchise and LucasFilms to Disney for $4 billion, he can certainly afford that.
Lucas’ neighbors aren’t happy about the planned project. They have accused Lucas of waging class warfare, and worry that the project will attract criminals and drug dealers to their fair community. Lucas, for his part, thinks Marin County has enough millionaires and could do with a few houses for nurses, teachers and other working folk.