(FOX40.COM) — The group of Silicon Valley investors who have been buying up land in Northern California under the company Flannery Associates launched a website Thursday, revealing a parent company called California Forever and offering more details about its plans for building a new metropolitan area in Solano County.
The website features information about a survey conducted by the company, renderings of what the community would look like, and more information about the two companies, which it says are seeking to build a new “sustainable community.”
According to the website, the parent company California Forever has existed since 2017, but it wasn’t until this year that it caught national attention after concerns were raised about the close to 55,000 acres it had purchased in the eastern part of Solano County, close to Travis Air Force Base.
This summer, the land buyers started receiving more attention from media outlets and state and federal elected officials after concerns about the proximity of the land to the base.
The website California Forever says that the buyers operated in secrecy for so long “to avoid creating a rush of reckless short-term land speculation,” and that its proposed community would be farther from the base than existing communities.
A major point of concern earlier this summer was who the owners of Flannery Associates were.
They did not start to be revealed until the last days of August, and the new website lists CEO Jan Sramek and a slew of investors, some with ties to Silicon Valley, such as Marc Andreessen and Lauren Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
The website says 97% of its capital comes from American investors, with the remaining 3% coming from Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The website also announces future plans to conduct a survey of Solano County residents, as well as open offices in nearby cities, such as Vallejo and Fairfield, for the public to learn more about the company’s plans.
In spite of the flashy website, which includes renderings of what the community and surrounding area could look like, lawmakers who have spoken with the investors or their spokesperson say they still have concerns.
Congressman Mike Thompson met with several investors on Tuesday and said to FOX40.com, “My impression is that they don’t have a plan. They have some ideas. Maybe a dream or a vision, but they have a long way to go.”
The Congressman added that there are a myriad of hurdles to go through in order to build a new city, including going through different government bodies at the city, county, state and federal levels.
The California State Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing Tuesday seeking to address concerns about the project’s effects on the state’s agriculture industry.
Senator Melissa Hurtado, who chairs the committee, said in a statement that agricultural land is “critical to our communities, local economy, and national security,” a comment echoed by Congressman John Garamendi, who represents parts of Solano County.
The California Forever website says that the company seeks to continue conversations with the wider Northern California community about the impacts the project may have on agriculture, traffic and even the nearby California Delta ecosystem.
At the same time, Flannery Associates is involved in a lawsuit against several families, accusing them of colluding to drive up the price of their land.
Even with a new website, a spokesperson and plans to reveal more information about the project, lawmakers say the land purchases could have been handled differently from the start.
“They would have been much better off if they had been open and explained to people what it is that they were trying to do,” Congressman Thompson said.