Billionaire group behind mystery Silicon Valley city says it’s done buying up land. The company now owns a property the size of Beaumont, Texas. – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Billionaire group behind mystery Silicon Valley city says it’s done buying up land. The company now owns a property the size of Beaumont, Texas.

An illustration of Flannery Associates’s proposed city from a distance surrounded by farmland

California Forever

A group backed by Silicon Valley billionaires has a plan to build a new city in California.The group, Flannery Associates, has so far purchased more than 53,000 acres of land.That acreage is larger than the entire city of Beaumont, Texas, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Tens of thousands of acres later, a group backed by Silicon Valley’s wealthiest says it’s done buying up land in northern California for its walkable, utopian city.

Flannery Associates has been grabbing plots of land in Solano County, about 60 miles from San Francisco, for the past five years. The company has spent about $800 million to purchase tens of thousands of acres of farmland with the support of tech billionaires, including Marc Andreessen and Laurene Powell Jobs.

Renderings of the company’s plan show two- to three-story rowhouses, children biking in the middle of the streets, and parents taking a stroll — all without a car in sight. Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs trader, said the company wants to build a “city of yesterday.” The project has been named California Forever.

Now, the company says it has all the land it needs to carry out its vision.

“With regards to future purchases, except for a few remaining properties that Flannery has under contract and will close on in the coming weeks, Flannery has assembled all the land it needs and does not anticipate making any additional purchases,” a spokesperson for Flannery Associates told Bloomberg.

Flannery Associates had acquired about 52,000 acres of farmland around Travis Air Force Base in rural Solano County. County records reviewed by Bloomberg show that the group bought another 814 acres in October.

The company now has more than 53,000 acres of land, according to the report. That’s more square mileage than the entire city of Beaumont, Texas, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota, less than 83 square miles, or just over 53,000 acres.

Flannery’s purchases may be over, but the group’s legal disputes between the landowners the company bought the thousands of acres from remain.

Flannery filed a lawsuit against a group of Solano County landowners and farmers in May, claiming that they conspired to inflate land prices. The company is seeking more than half a billion dollars in damages.

This week, the farmers alleged that Flannery Associates used “mobster tactics” to buy up the land, evicting farmers or using litigious strategies to force landowners to sell their land.

An attorney for Flannery Associates did not respond to a request for comment sent outside business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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