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New California City Will Be About 18,600 Acres

A mock-up illustration of the new city envisioned by California Forever.
California Forever

  • The company backed by Silicon Valley’s elite unveiled more details behind its new California city.
  • The plans propose “one of the most walkable” cities in the US with a total size of about 18,600 acres.
  • That still leaves about 36,000 acres the company purchased from landowners throughout the county.

More details on the elusive new California city that is backed by some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest were unveiled Wednesday as the company spearheading the project prepares to put its ambitious plans on a ballot initiative and gather local support.

California Forever — a subsidiary of Flannery Associates which has spent at least half a decade purchasing thousands of acres of land throughout Solano County — said on its website that it envisions one of “the most walkable and sustainable” cities in the US.

The size of the “community,” according to California Forever, will be about 18,600 acres, with a “development capacity” of up to 160,000 homes and 400,000 residents. The company notes that the acreage is smaller or similar to that of Vallejo, Fairfield, and Vacaville which are also in Solano County.

Notably, the acreage is less than half of the nearly 55,000 acres Flannery Associates purchased presumably for the project since at least 2018.

It’s unclear what the rest of the acreage may be reserved for. A spokesperson for California Forever did not immediately return a request for comment.

Other plans highlighted by the company include bringing in at least 15,000 jobs, setting aside $400 million to help Solano County residents put down payments on homes in the new city, and carving out an area for a 712-acre open space.

The company on Wednesday filed a ballot initiative on its proposal, called “East Solano Homes, Jobs, and Clean Energy Initiative,” which proposes zoning changes to build the city. About 13,500 signatures are required to put the initiative on the ballot in November.

Flannery Associates has spent about $800 million grabbing up land throughout the county that sits about 60 miles above San Francisco.

In August, a New York Times report revealed that the group was being bankrolled by Silicon Valley elites including Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, among others.

But the group also has been in a contentious legal battle with a handful of Solano County landowners since May. In a lawsuit, Flannery Associates accused landowners of conspiring to inflate the land prices.

The lawsuit alleged Flannery overpaid for the land by about $170,000,000.

In response, attorneys for the landowners accused Flannery Associates of using “strong-arm tactics” to pressure landowners into selling their land.

Local leaders and residents also have pushed back against the plans.

At one November town hall led by the project’s lead, Jan Sramek, protesters gathered in front of the meeting location with signs that said, “Transparency not trickery” and “Flannery Will Ruin California for EVER,” The New York Times reported.

At another town hall event, Mitch Mashburn, a Solano County Board of Supervisor for District 5, expressed skepticism that the homes California Forever says it will build will be affordable.

“The problem that I have, and no one has explained this one to me, is how that is going to make it affordable because when you take land values that were $3,500 an acre just 10 years ago, and now, how do you make that pencil? And how are you going to make that affordable?” Mashburn said, according to KCRA-TV, an NBC affiliate.

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