Assembled parcel by parcel since September 1978, Skywalker Ranch has cost Lucas up to US$100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. After neighboring ranchers complained that Skywalker Ranch was polluting the environment, Lucasfilm acquired 3,000 acres (12 km²) of adjoining land for a total of over 4,700 acres (19 km²). Only 15 acres (60,000 m²) have been developed.
The Ranch contains a barn with animals, vineyards, a garden with fruits and vegetables used in the on-site restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center with racquetball courts, the man-made "Lake Ewok", a hilltop observatory, a 300-seat theater called "The Stag" as well as multiple theater screening rooms, and parking that is mostly concealed underground to preserve the natural landscape. Skywalker Sound was moved onto the ranch in 1987, now occupying the Technical Building. The Main House has a company research library under a stained-glass dome. Skywalker Ranch has its own fire station, which is part of the Marin County Mutual Aid system, and is often called on to assist firefighters in nearby Marinwood.
Skywalker Ranch is intended to be more of a "filmmaker's retreat" than a headquarters for Lucas's business operations. The headquarters of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and LucasArts are located in Lucas's Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio of San Francisco. Lucas does not live on the Ranch.
The ranch comprises 1061 acres (4.3 km²), of which 43 acres (17 hectares) are developed with 317,000 sq ft (29,500 m²) of office space. Before the Presidio move in 2005, Big Rock Ranch housed the marketing, licensing, distribution and online divisions of Lucasfilm. It is currently the headquarters of the animation division as of 2007.
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