For over six years, a mysterious buyer known only as “Flannery Associates” purchased over 50,000 acres in east Solano County, just outside Rio Vista and Travis Air Force Base. The total cost was around $800,000,000 with some land purchases being made at four or five times the market value. Local, state and federal officials attempted to learn the identity of the purchaser(s) behind the mysterious Flannery Associates.
All that was known was Flannery Associates was an LLC established in Delaware, a state renowned for extreme privacy of individual owners of a corporation.
Flannery Conspiracy Theories
The mystery surrounding the purchaser’s hidden identity led locals to create their own theories about why (and by whom) the land was being bought. These included the Chinese government hoarding land adjacent to Travis Air Force Base and a secret plan for Disney to build a northern California theme park at the site.
U.S. Congressman John Garamendi began advocating for an investigation into the purchaser’s identity. He spoke of the national security threat the purchaser may pose due to the land surrounding Travis Air Force Base.
Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy raised similar concerns.
California Forever’s Big Reveal
In August of 2023, the mysterious Flannery Associates revealed itself as an investment group of mega-rich tech billionaires who want to create a new city in east Solano County, just outside the Bay Area. Images of a futuristic city powered by wind, solar and geothermal energy filled the minds of locals.
Days after Flannery Associates was revealed as a group of tech investors planning to build a city, its parent company was also revealed. California Forever is its name and a website was shared with the world showing renderings of the company’s vision for the new city.
The website also shared a clearer picture of the company’s vision for east Solano County, explaining its previous need for secrecy and attempting to address some of the most obvious concerns with building a new city in the county.
Why Here in Solano County?
Many factors may have been considered, but proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley were likely a major reason. The area is also known for its wind-turbines powered by the Delta breeze. The warm, sunny climate is also a prime area to optimize solar power. Relative to the greater Bay Area, the area is an undeveloped expanse of cheap land.
All Solano has created this page to serve as an evolving hub of information related to future developments about Flannery Associates. Continue reading for the latest updates and check back regularly.
https://t.co/57M5eHsTvc— California Forever (@CAForever) September 1, 2023
1/ "The modern Bay Area was built on bold infrastructure projects: the bridges across the Bay and the Golden Gate, SFO and BART are all proof of that…If the Bay Area wants to claim to be progressive, it might consider embracing, well, progress."
Concerns About a New City in Solano County
Early concerns about the new city planned in California include a lack of water, impact on the power grid and local infrastructure since the land sits on a rural stretch of Highway 12, a two-lane road already known in the area as one of the most dangerous highways in northern California. Also, what will the impacts be to local farmers?
In California Forever’s debut, the website addressed some of these concerns head-on but contends that the new city’s development may be the solution, rather than another contributor, to these problems.
California Forever cites access to the power grid through major transmission lines in the area as being a reason the location was chosen. The company points to renewable energy being at the core of its development with plans for solar and wind farms to power the city.
One of the area’s only recognizable feature today is the rows and rows of windmills which have emerged over the last two decades. Sitting on the Delta, Rio Vista and east Solano County are known to be windy.
Water is a touchy subject for California. As big cities and agriculture battle it out for finite resources, California Forever’s impact on the water supply was one of the first concerns that came to mind for locals.
“We hope to contribute towards water supply and quality enhancements that benefit the entire county, including necessary upgrades to water supplies drawn from the North Bay Aqueduct just north of the project area.”California Forever
The land purchased by California Forever sits at the intersection of Highway 12 and Highway 113, both two-lane highways that are already known to be dangerous roadways. Early questions include how these roads would support a new city. California Forever has acknowledged these concerns and
“We believe that our project can help improve existing regional roadway and public transit services and create capacity for new growth.”California Forever
Impact on Local Agriculture
The area for the proposed city is almost entirly agricultural land used by farmers. Concerns have emerged of the future of farming in eastern Solano County. This also was addressed by California Forever and reports have indicated farmers who sold their land were offered lengthy leases to continue operations.
“Our investments have not reduced agricultural production in this area. All of our properties continue being leased to local farmers and ranchers, and continue being used for agriculture. If a potential project is approved, over several years, land that may currently be used for grazing in the area would be developed.”California Forever
Who’s Investing in California Forever?
According to its website, California Forever is backed by some big names in the tech industry. Of course there could be more, but here are some identified in the article.
Jan Sramek is the founder and CEO of California Forever. An article in The Daily Beast describes him as “the whiz kid behind tech billionaires’ plan to build utopian city.”
Originally from the Czech Republic, at age 22 he was named Financial News’ youngest ever “Rising Star.” It appears that Sramek went dark for several years while secretly recruiting billionaire investors for California Forever.
Sramek apparently fell in love with Solano County and has moved here.
Michael Moritz is the Chairman of Crankstart and a partner in Sequoia Capital. He’s a billionaire venture capitalist credited with reaching out to early investors about the idea, according to The New York Times.
Reid Hoffman may best be known for co-founding LinkedIn and being a founding investor of OpenAI. He was also the COO of PayPal and previously worked for Apple. He’s originally from the Bay Area.
Marc Andreesen is the co-founder of the venture capital firm Adreessen Horowitz. He’s been involved in many tech companies including eBay, Netscape and OpsWare. He is on the board of directors for Meta Platforms. In 2022, he was appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Chris Dixon is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and previously worked at eBay. He’s also the co-founder and former CEO of Hunch. He has been a strong advocate and supporter of cryptocurrency development, having invested heavily in Coinbase.
Patrick and John Collison
The Collison brothers are Irish entrepreneurs who founded the online payment system, Stripe.
California Forever points out that 97% of its investors are from the United States with the other 3% being composed of the Collision brothers.
California Forever has laid out next steps for their vision. These include meetings with local officials to discuss their plans and mailing out a survey to every Solano County resident. The process for creating a new city is complex and will need a vote by Solano County residents to ultimately approve the project.
“Solano County’s Orderly Growth Measure directs development into cities, and asks that new projects outside of cities be submitted to the voters for approval.”California Forever
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We are committed to following this story as it progresses. We expect many years of updates and you’ll be able to find unbiased updates right here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the company called “Flannery Associates?”
The first sales of land began in the area of Flannery Road off Highway 12 in Solano County. We believe the name was created based on the name of Flannery Road.
Where is the new city proposed by California Forever?
The land accumulated by California Forever sits near the intersections of Highway 12 and Highway 113 in east Solano County. It is between the cities of Rio Vista and Fairfield. Much of the land is near Travis Air Force Base.
How much land has California Forever acquired?
Reports vary, but it appears California Forever’s land acquisition is over 52,000 acres in east Solano County.