The creator of Star Wars has plans to create low-income housing for residents in Marin County, California.
It was two years ago when infamous Star Wars’ creator, George Lucas, sought to sell a portion of his studio land in affluent Marine County to a developer who would build affordable housing on it. As George puts it (as announced through his lawyer), “We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people.”
But other residents in the area didn’t (and still don’t) agree. Lucas received a lot of resistance from wealthy neighbors in the area who wanted to keep low income families out of the scene, and was even opposed by the head of the North San Rafael Coalition of Residents who accused him of “inciting class warfare.”
But while a large percentage of Marin County might live comfortably and desire to keep low-income families ‘out of sight and out of mind’, 7.7% of the population still lives beneath the poverty line. Recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau, this statistic conveys the very-real need for affordable housing options to be made available to Marin’s working class… and Lucas is determined to make that happen.
Even though the director, producer, screenwriter, and entrepreneur has met a wall of resistance the past two years, he recently announced that instead of selling his land, he will now be paying for the low-income community out of his own pocket.
The new 224 units of low-income housing will be added to Lucas’ Grady Ranch (also known as Skywalker Ranch after Lucas’ famous Star Wars films) property. And included in this development will be workforce and senior residences, a community center, a pool, and an orchard.
To qualify for housing, future residents will need to make less than 80% of the area’s median income (the average being about $90,839).
Most looking in on the situation view the building project as an ingenious way to add a valuable asset to the area and help those who would be otherwise financially challenged, but many affluent residents are still fighting the development plans.
According to board member Carl Fricke, “The local homeowners association has received letters saying, ‘You guys are going to get what you deserve. You’re going to bring drug dealers, all this crime and lowlife in here.’”
At present, costs for the development are estimated to be between $120 million to $150 million.
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