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Mystery Company bought thousands of acres of land for $800 million to build a new California town

  • A company called Flannery Associates bought land in a county near San Francisco.
  • The company spent up to $15,000 per acre, according to court documents.
  • Silicon Valley has long sought to build a new city from scratch.

A mysterious corporation backed by Silicon Valley billionaires has grabbed land in a northern California county with the apparent goal of building a brand new city in the state.

The New York Times reported that among those investors are some of the Valley’s best-known names, from Marc Andreessen to Laurene Powell Jobs.

Flannery Associates has spent $800 million buying thousands of acres of farmland in Solano County, northeast of San Francisco, according to court documents obtained by Insider.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Flannery had purchased about 52,000 acres of farmland around Travis Air Force Base since 2018. According to the report, government officials began investigating the purchases, fearing foreign interests were behind it. the company.

Travis Air Force Base

Travis Air Force Base

Google Maps

“The entire base is now surrounded,” Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy told ABC 7 News. “So there’s no part that Flannery doesn’t touch.”

Little is known about Flannery Associates or its specific city plans.

According to the Times, the company is run by Jan Sramek, a 36-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader.

Flannery’s backers include Andreessen, Powell Jobs, Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and others, according to the report.

It is unclear exactly how much each has invested in the business.

Solano County

Solano County

Google Maps

In 2017, Flannery Associates pitched the idea of ​​turning Solano County land into a walkable city powered by clean energy and home to tens of thousands of residents, The Times reported. Real estate data shows the current median home price in the county is $585,000.

In an email obtained by The Times, Moritz said Flannery purchased about 1,400 acres of land for less than $5,000 an acre.

But the price of spending has since climbed, with Flannery spending as much as $15,000 per acre, attorneys for Flannery Associates said in court documents.

In May, Flannery’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against a group of Solano County landowners, claiming they had conspired to inflate the price of their land.

The lawsuit alleges Flannery overpaid the owners by approximately $170,000,000 and seeks damages of at least $510,000,000.

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed in July, the landowners said they ‘have ‘engaged in bona fide and arm’s length transactions for the sale of land, or have not been tempted by Flannery’s prices, because they had no desire”. (or ability) to sell.”

Attorneys for Flannery Associates and the landowners did not respond to a request for comment outside of working hours.

Silicon Valley has long sought to build a city from scratch, sometimes with a utopian vision of a “smart city”.

In 2016, Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley startup accelerator, began exploring how to build a city that could respond to California’s affordable housing crisis.

“We want to build cities for all humans, for techs and non-techs alike,” writes the Accelerator. “We are not interested in constructing ‘mad libertarian utopias for technicians’.”

Tech founders, including Bill Gates and Elon Musk, also had visions of their own cities.

Musk recently purchased 3,500 acres of land outside Austin, Texas to build a town he intends to call “Snailbrook.”

Sources told the Journal that he envisions a “sort of Texas utopia along the Colorado River.”


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