George Lucas' Troll-ish Offer To Build Affordable Housing
George Lucas owns a bunch of property in Lucas Valley, a community in California's Marin County, one of the richest counties in the country. Lucas Valley isn't named after George Lucas—he's not that much of a megalomaniac—but the name does mean George was fated to reign there. In 2012, he decided to turn one Valley property of his, Grady Ranch, into a new movie studio.
The other people in the Valley weren't fans of this development. Neighbors put together a report saying a movie studio would ruin the feel of the area, and they got the county supervisors to step in. Lucas, frustrated, said he was abandoning the idea and would just sell Grady Ranch instead. But a month later, he said he'd changed his mind again. Now, he was going to build 240 affordable housing units on the ranch.
This sounds an awful lot like Lucas trying to punish the neighbors for their protest. We need to build more affordable housing (more housing of all kinds, in fact), but when you try building some in a rich neighborhood, existing residents inevitably say, "not in my backyard."
But then came a twist. The people of Marin County said they were totally supporting him on the idea. The units would be reserved for people who earn between $65,700 and $101,400 a year, and if you have trouble seeing such people as the expected targets of charity, you clearly don't live in Marin County. Seriously: Due to Marin County's median income, those requirements make those units “affordable housing.” Also, to get past the government red tape in the way of grants, Lucas would have to put up $150 million himself.
Well, nearly a decade has passed since George announced his idea, and yet there's no sign of affordable units on Grady Ranch. For years, the ranch's website said "This project is currently on hold"; today, the page is gone and is just a redirect. This is just us speculating here, but maybe George Lucas was never really keen on spending nine figures on affordable housing, he was just messing with his neighbors, and then they called his bluff?
On the other hand, maybe he really does care about charity. This is, after all, the man who pledged to donate to charity the entire $4 billion he got from selling Star Wars to Disney, leaving him with just around a single billion. Though … did he actually make good on that pledge? We spent more time than we'd like to admit researching his net worth to try to answer that. If anyone reading this received a donation from George Lucas, let us know so we can clear this up.
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