The tech billionaire-backed landgrab in Solano County California might finally be out of the shadows, but the local officials who have finally had the opportunity to speak to the developers say the group simply has no real plan to make good on promises to build a beautiful, sustainable, and exclusive Bay Area tech utopia.
As reported by local ABC affiliate KGO, the congresspeople representing Solano County, where the group plans to build their new metropolis, and neighboring areas said the people behind the project essentially have no good idea what the hell they’re doing with the 55,000 acres they’ve snatched up over the past several years. The project is being headed up by self-described former Goldman Sachs investor Jan Shramek, and in his second round of meetings with local officials, he reportedly could not offer any sort of details on how they would deal with the land located near Travis Air Force Base.
Democratic Rep. John Garamendi told KGO there was a “serious threat” to national security because many of the parcels bought up by Flannery Associates and its parent company California Forever are located close to Travis. The land is zoned agricultural with restrictive overlays that prevent extra developments that could compromise security. The group may “eliminate” Travis’ current protections if they do so. Doing so may “eliminate” the protections Travis currently enjoys.
“No specific development plans were given to us, and I don’t believe they have any specific development plans,” Garamendi said, adding that all their ideas were “pie in the sky, a fairy tale.”
Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson, whose district encompasses the northern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area including Napa County, said that Flannery’s heads told him that they had considered building housing near the base, though Flannery Associates told KGO there were no plans to build housing near the base. Flannery did say it had some plans to build olive orchards near the base, but it was otherwise exploring possibilities.
Gizmodo reached out to California Forever for comment, but we did not hear back by press time.
The project has some major big tech backers who have helped
finance the $800 million land grab around Solano County. The New York Times reported that Moritz was heavily involved in the promotion of the project among his fellow Silicon Valley tech titans. Moritz, in a previous NYT opinion piece, criticized San Francisco. He complained that the powers-that-be had been corrupted and that socialists “peddled radicalism”, compared with the good ol’ boys like Charles Schwab. Schwab was a major Republican contributor who donated millions of dollars to pro-Donald Trump organizations, but he has since said he’s sworn to stop paying PACs. Otherwise, Moritz tried to condemn the lack of “minority, middle-class voters” who could stymie the supposed radicals of city government.
So what California Forever is selling is a kind of tech utopia, one where the “middle class” can bear fruit away from the influence of left-leaning politicians and policies. That is what has been sold to locals in and around Solano County, but according to local politicians who spoke to Flannery and Janek, the group behind the project has no exact vision in mind, at least not yet.“The Leadership of Flannery group is trying to figure out how to justify what they have sold,” Geramendi told KGO.The group released renderings that seemed to include San Francisco townhomes as well as seaside, multi-story mansions. The group released
that appeared to include San Francisco townhomes as well as seaside, multi-story mansions. Some of the faces are also distorted. We asked California Forever if its renderings had been created by AI. If they were, then it would not help California Forever’s case for having plans beyond olive orchards, single-family houses, and a U.S. Air Force Base.