Skywalker Ranch Fire Damages Lucasfilm's Headquarters

Image: Skywalker Ranch Fire Damages Lucasfilm's Headquarters George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch.

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 09:52 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Tuesday morning fire damaged part of Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch which is the company's headquarters and also houses its sound editing and design division.

The fire was called in at approximately 4 a.m., Marin County fire battalion chief told local CBS affiliate KPIX. The facility, which is located on the 4,000-acre ranch owned by iconic "Star Wars" filmmaker George Lucas, is located near Nicasio, Calif.,

The fire destroyed part of a shipping-and-receiving building, which contained office furniture and supplies, resulting in approximately $25,000 in damage, according to Battalion Chief Mike Giannini.

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The sprinkler system helped to curtail the spread of the fire, which the firefighters were able to extinguish quickly upon arrival, Giannini added.

A fire brigade based on the ranch itself was first to respond to the blaze, and also helped in containing the fire, CBS News reported.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The 69-year-old Lucas began acquiring the property for the ranch in 1978, a year after "Star Wars" was released, purchasing it parcel by parcel.

Lucas has long feuded with some of his neighbors in the surrounding community over his plans to expand and enhance the facility, which many locals argued would impact their quality of life.

For years, Lucas had unsuccessfully attempted to construct a film studio on the land, which would consist of a 269,000-square-foot complex including two 85-foot towers, a 7,000-square-foot outdoor sound stage, and underground parking for 200 cars, Britain's Telegraph reported.

Due to the protest from neighbors, Marin County officials further postponed the studio application last April, causing Lucas, who had reportedly been trying to have the studio built for decades, to once and for all retreat from his plans and construct the facility elsewhere.

In a statement Lucasfilms cited the "level of bitterness and anger expressed by the home owners," for their decision to relocate the enterprise.

"We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley [the actual name of the area] have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough," the statement continued. "Movies are waiting to be made, and we must move forward. . . We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire."

In place of the movie studio, the company is planning to build 300 low income housing apartments on the land, the Telegraph reported.

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The move has been viewed by some as an act of retribution, considering the surrounding area is one of the most exclusive, wealthy areas in the U.S.

In a May 2012 email to The New York Times, Lucas said he just wanted to "do something good for Marin."

Related stories:

George Lucas Marries Mellody Hobson at Skywalker Ranch

Billionaire Filmmaker Lucas Buys $10 Million of Starbucks Stock

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