Lucasfilm moves forward with affordable housing at Grady Ranch

NOVATO -- Lucasfilm has partnered with the Marin Community Foundation to explore options for building affordable housing on the Grady Ranch property near San Rafael that George Lucas originally planned for a sizable digital-movie studio.

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The partnership marks the first concrete action after Mr. Lucas’ real estate arm, Skywalker Properties, proposed affordable housing on the site in a public letter following the discontinuation of the proposed studio in April.

Land and engineering studies conducted through the studio project process will be made available to the foundation, which will then judge the feasibility of affordable housing on the site, according to Dr. Thomas Peters, foundation president and chief executive officer.

“To have that head start will be enormously valuable,” he said.

Lucasfilm withdrew plans for the long-anticipated studio amid intense opposition from some residents in Lucas Valley. Some interpreted the affordable housing proposal in Skywalker Properties' letter an affront to opponents of development there.

Yet Dr. Peters said he is confident George Lucas is sincere about the idea, which points to a growing need for affordable housing in the county.

“We are delighted that a prestigious organization such as the Marin Community Foundation is looking into the possibility of working with developers for Grady Ranch,” said Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lynne Hale in a statement.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors supports the collaboration, according to a joint statement issued today.

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