Some bigwigs of Silicon Valley are making plans to build a new city. They plan to build a technologically advanced yet eco-friendly city in Northern California.
Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs and the founder of the philanthropic group Emerson Collective, and Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn, are the plan’s architects. Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe and former CEO of GitHub, Nat Friedman, are also part of those investing in this billionaire plan.
These Silicon Valley heavyweights came together and formed a group they called Flannery Associates. They used the group to collectively buy 55,000 acres of agricultural and vacant real estate in Solano County, close to San Francisco. The land they purchased is said to have cost more than $800 million.
A 36-year-old former trader at Goldman Sachs, Jan Sramek, is the one leading the project. According to the information that was given to the Solano County residents last week, Jan Sramek plans to build this new city between Rio Vista and Fairfield.
The Solano County residents got anonymous text surveys asking for their views on the creation of a new city with what they proposed to be “tens of thousands of new homes, solar energy farms, orchards and open space.”
The land these billionaires aim to use for their new city is presently marked for agricultural use, and in order to implement their plans, they would require a county vote. If the vote goes in their favor, then they would be allowed to convert the land for residential or commercial use.
The proposed area for the new city lies close to Travis Air Force Base, and its very large size makes the collective tech billionaire group the largest landowner in San Francisco.
Although Flannery Associates was pretty private about those backing them at first, they’ve been forced to be more open in response to concerns about their ownership. This was after local politicians raised concerns about the plan for the new city and how the project would be financed. The proposed city’s closeness to the military facility is also another factor these politicians have cited as worrying.
Some of those who seemed to be keen about learning the identities of Flannery Associates’ backers are lawmakers like Reps. John Garamedi and Mike Thompson. Following a lawsuit filed by Flannery Associates about 4 months ago, these lawmakers demanded a federal investigation into the real estate acquisitions. They did that, hoping to find out the identity of those supporting the group.
In a statement about the intended project, Brian Brokaw, a spokesman for Flannery Associates said, “We are proud to partner on a project that aims at providing well-paying jobs, sustainable infrastructure, clean energy, affordable housing, healthy environment and open space to people residing in Solano County.” “We are very much excited to start working with elected officials and the County’s residents, as well as with Travis Air Force Base, on achieving all our objectives.”
Regardless of the concerns raised by politicians about the project, the idea of a technologically advanced city that’s climate-friendly seems like a step in the right direction.