An ambitious project is being considered by a company supported by Silicon Valley billionaires. Over the course of several years, this company has discreetly acquired over $800 million worth of rural land in the area between San Francisco and Sacramento. The purpose behind this acquisition is to create a new city that is both pedestrian-friendly, affordable, and environmentally sustainable. Volunteers are urgently required to adopt.
Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs trader, is spearheading the initiative. Approval from Solano County voters is required for his California Forever company to bypass the protections implemented in 1984, which aimed to safeguard agricultural land from urban development.
In a recent development, the ballot language was revealed, presenting a community vision that surpasses any previous ones. The proponents, including philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, are aiming for an expansive form of community. If the group manages to obtain 13,000 signatures from Solano County voters, the measure will be presented to voters in November.
A proposed development between Travis Air Force Base and the small town of Rio Vista aims to accommodate 50,000 residents in 20,000 homes. The development will feature rowhouses and apartment buildings, strategically located within walking distance of various amenities such as jobs, schools, bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. A group has stated that the city has the potential to reach a population of 400,000 in the future. However, this growth can only be achieved if the city manages to generate a minimum of 15,000 jobs that offer wages higher than the average.
In 2017, California Forever made a significant acquisition, purchasing over 78 square miles of farmland in Solano County. A proposed community in Solano County could receive a significant boost with a plan that aims to provide $400 million to help local residents purchase homes.
Shramek presented his case through a series of town-hall-style forums held in December across the county. However, despite the increased transparency, the critics who have been skeptical of the project since the land-buying spree started years ago continue to voice their concerns. However, there are doubts.
Democratic U.S. Rep. John Garamendi expressed his skepticism, referring to the proposal as a “pipe dream.” Garamendi voiced his frustration with supporters, citing privacy concerns regarding the property’s proximity to a U.S. Air Force base.
In a recent statement, he expressed his disbelief in the proposed development. He highlighted the perplexing nature of the project, particularly its location amidst wind farms, gas fields, and areas inhabited by endangered species. Furthermore, he emphasized the lack of basic infrastructure such as water, sanitation, and roads in the vicinity. Set aside the highway system.
The land being targeted by California Forever is not only used for agriculture, but it is also located in the crucial Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which serves as a delicate estuary for numerous fish and wildlife species. The Delta serves as the focal point of California’s water supply system, which is already under significant strain. Concerns have been raised by critics of the project, who fear that the addition of more development could exacerbate the existing threats to the ecosystem.
But supporters of the project say Solano County is a smart place to build in an area that is desperate for more housing, especially affordable homes for teachers, firefighters, police and other municipal workers who run the city. According to Gabriel Metcalf, planning lead for California Forever, Solano County is a highly desirable destination for military contractors, agricultural technology, and construction technology companies looking to drive innovation.
“By offering a pathway for companies to expand, there is potential for significant job creation within the state. This could prevent the relocation of major employers to other states such as Texas,” stated Metcalf.