California Forever, the parent company of Flannery Associates LLC, has revealed plans to build a new metropolitan city near Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, Northern California.
The Delaware-registered firm has spent almost $1 billion buying more than 50,000 acres of land in the area since 2018. Their newly launched website includes further details about their ambitious project.
Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs trader and CEO, founded the business in 2017. Billionaires Marc Andreessen and Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs) are among its backers.
“Over the last few years, Flannery has purchased over 50,000 acres in Solano County. To date, our company has been quiet about our activities. This has, understandably, created interest, concern, and speculation,” the website states. “Now that we’re no longer limited by confidentiality, we are eager to begin a conversation about the future of Solano County a conversation with all of you.”
The website goes on to state that Solano County, like much of California, “faces many challenges, but also possesses countless opportunities.”
For the past few years, California Forever has conducted surveys and interviews with 2,000 residents of Solano County. Located between Sacramento, San Francisco, and Napa Valley, this county has a population of about 450,000.
“Residents want more opportunities to buy homes in safe, walkable communities. Good paying local jobs, so they can both live and work in the county,” the website states. “Better funding to improve schools, promote public safety, and reduce homelessness, as well as resources to invest in infrastructure for transportation, water, and wildfire protection.”
California Forever has gathered capital from investors such as Mr. Andreessen, Ms. Jobs, Patrick and John Collison, Chris Dixon, John Doerr, Nat Friedman, Daniel Gross, Reid Hoffman, and Michael Moritz to construct a new community.
Investors in the firm are confident that California’s future is bright, and have made a long-term commitment to the Solano project. This includes creating neighborhoods with amenities such as shopping, dining, schools, solar farms, agricultural land and conservation areas nearby.
The project is expected to bring new employers and jobs to the area while also providing environmental stewardship and increased tax revenue for the county.
Flannery Associates LLC has come up with a website to guarantee that Travis Air Force Base will be safeguarded and bolstered. This includes honoring the official Travis Reserve Area of Solano County.
Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), whose district takes in Solano County, had a meeting with two representatives from Flannery Associates in August to question them about their intentions but it was evident after the meeting that they “do not have a plan; they only have an aspiration”.
“The secrecy under which they operated caused consternation and concern from residents, local elected officials, and federal agencies, and while they explained their rationale, I do not believe the secrecy was necessary,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
“Solano County is a tight-knit community, and it is going to be a long road for Flannery to restore trust and move forward with their proposed vision. As one of the representatives of Solano County, I want to make sure that a group of Silicon Valley billionaires do not steal family farmers’ ability to farm their land.”
A lawsuit has been filed against the farmers Barnes Family Ranch Associates LLC and Kirby Hill Associates LLC, alleging they conspired to increase the price of real estate by hundreds of millions of dollars and overcharged a company in violation of US antitrust law.
Mr. Thompson raised additional issues after an Aug. 29 meeting, including potential impacts on national security and food security due to a “development of the magnitude” proposed by the farmers. The litigation is still ongoing.
“They need to make sure that nothing they do harms Travis, puts our national security at risk, or disadvantages family farmers,” he said.
Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) has raised concerns about California Forever’s plans for the Solano County land, citing that many of the families who sold the land to the company did not want to sell it but were persuaded with large sums of money and now lack legal representation in their ongoing lawsuit.
Despite this, California Forever insists that their project is a collaboration with many stakeholders and must be approved by all Solano residents.