George Lucas's Latest Marin Movie Factory

An Amazing Sight Few Will See

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011  |  Updated 12:03 AM EDT
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George Lucas wants to take the former Grady Ranch to a new dimension.

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Filmmaker George Lucas wants everybody to see his movies, but not where they're made.

The "Star Wars" creator's latest plan for moviemaking magic is also an architectural treat: a "three-story digital technology fortress" on the site of the former Grady Ranch in a secluded part of Lucas Valley in Marin County, Calif., according to the Marin Independent Journal.

Lucas proposes to build on-site a 263,000-square foot building, where 340 employees — and actors and guests — will be able to avail themselves of film stages, screening rooms, a cafe, a day car, a gym, sleeping quarters and underground parking for 202 cars and 24 bicycles.

All this will be hidden from view by a man-made knoll.

Nine bridges to span Miller, Grady and Landmark creeks will be built, and there's also a plan to dig a cave in which Lucas can age the wine culled from his nearby vineyards.

The building will look similar to either the Mission-style St. Vincent's School for Boys or the Casa Grande at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, depending on who you ask.

The 187-acre project is not far away from Lucas's existing facilities at the 2,500-acre Skywalker Ranch.

The plan seems destined for approval, according to reports: a less-intensive plan was already green-lighted by Marin County officials, the newspaper reported. This one will go through the public process next year.

While there's certainly a similarity, George Lucas's name is not literally on Lucas Valley: the area is named for a 19th-century rancher, not the director.

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