Tech billionaires don’t just invest in their favorite subjects. According to the New York Times, several big names in the sector, including Marc Andreessen (a16z), Michael Moritz (Sequoia Capital) and Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, are financing the construction of a new city in Solana County, northeast of San Francisco. His characteristics ? Pedestrianized and powered by clean energy.
“We are proud to partner with a project that aims to provide Solana County residents with access to well-paying jobs, affordable housing, clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, open spaces and a healthy environment,” Brian Brokaw, spokesperson for Flannery ociates, said in a statement.
This mysterious company headed by Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs trader, spent 800 million dollars to buy several thousand hectares, according to documents obtained by the Business Insider media.
Too close to an airbase
The agricultural land was acquired in several installments… and not at the same price. The half hectare went from 5,000 to 15,000 dollars. Last May, attorneys for Flannery ociates filed a lawsuit against a group of Solano County landowners, claiming “they conspired to inflate the price of their land.” »
In a petition filed in July, the owners said they had ‘engaged in good faith and arm’s length transactions for the sale of land, or were not tempted by Flannery’s prices , because they had no desire (or ability) to sell. »
The project encounters another obstacle: agricultural land is located around Travis Air Force Base. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government is conducting an investigation to determine whether Flannery ociates has ties to foreign companies, including Chinese.
California State Rep. John Garamendi, whose constituency includes Travis’ base, believes his constituents won’t support the plan. “Any reasonable developer would not have spent four years secretly buying land and suing local landowners,” he said. “He would have spent four years working with local community interests to develop a proposal that benefits communities and the state. »
Other billionaires also want to build new, smarter and cleaner cities. Elon Musk recently bought more than 1,000 hectares of land east of Austin, Texas to build a town he plans to call “Snailbrook” for Tesla, SpaceX and Boring employees. Co.