A portion of the mystery surrounding a massive land purchase in California has been revealed, but concerns persist about the intended use of nearly $1 billion in Solano County, northeast of San Francisco.
The purchases near Travis Air Force Base sparked a great deal of speculation about the purchasers and their intentions.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Flannery Associates, which had been purchasing land until it became the county’s largest landowner, is a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and other investors who plan to build a new city on tens of thousands of acres.
“We are proud to partner on a project that aims to deliver good-paying jobs, affordable housing, clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, open space and a healthy environment to residents of Solano County,” Brian Brokaw, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.
“We are excited to start working with residents and elected officials, as well as with Travis Air Force Base, on making that happen.”
The New York Times reported on Friday that billionaire venture capitalist Michael Moritz had been soliciting investors to purchase property “in a corner of the San Francisco Bay Area where land was cheap.”
The report includes the names of Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn; Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, venture capitalists; Patrick and John Collison, founders of the payments company Stripe; Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of the Emerson Collective; and Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross, formerly entrepreneurial investors.
According to the report, former Goldman Sachs trader Jan Sramek has been overseeing the operational side of the initiative as it devours land.
Catherine Moy, the mayor of the county seat of Solano County, told the Times that she became aware of the group when it began purchasing properties.
“They would come with an offer of four and five times over the market at the time,” Moy said. “They were deals that they couldn’t pass up.”
Rep. John Garamendi (D-California), who represents the region, stated that his endeavors to determine who was behind the land purchases had been fruitless for years.
“I couldn’t find out anything,” he told the Times, noting that when the group opened up Friday to announce its purpose and arrange meetings, it was “their first effort, ever, to talk to any of the local representatives, myself included.”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
Last week, according to the Times, residents in the area were sent surveys that talked about a possible ballot initiative about a project that “would include a new city with tens of thousands of new homes, a large solar energy farm, orchards with over a million new trees, and over 10,000 acres of new parks and open space.” CONTINUE READING…