Will the Bay Area get a new city?

Another group of deep-pocketed investors want to build a brand new city. Will this one happen?

A mysterious group bought up so much land near San Francisco that it kicked off a federal investigation.

houses in a neighborhood

As it turns out, it’s a familiar scheme: Silicon Valley types dreaming of their own little mojo dojo casa utopia.

Since 2018…

… Flannery Associates has spent $800m+ on ~52k acres of mostly uninhabited farmland in Solano County, located ~60 miles northeast of San Francisco, per The New York Times.

The company, led by former Goldman Sachs trader Jan Sramek, is sparse on the details, with notable backers including Marc Andreessen, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and VC Michael Moritz.

The plan is to build a walkable city, bringing thousands of new jobs; entertainment, shopping, and dining opportunities; a solar wind farm; orchards; and 10k+ acres of parks and open space.

Most importantly? Housing, in a state where costs have skyrocketed amid a shortage.

Is this feasible?

The area is served by a two-lane highway that’s already congested.

But the largest hurdle may be that the land isn’t zoned for residential use. Flannery may need to convince locals to vote yes on a ballot initiative to approve it.

Investors with deep pockets…

… often dream of building brand new cities:

  • Former Walmart exec Marc Lore’s Telosa is imagined as a sustainable, pedestrian-friendly city somewhere in the western US — its website notes it’s still scouting locations.
  • Peter Thiel wanted to build a self-sustaining, independent libertarian island, co-founding the Seasteading Institute to do so. He left in 2011, but the group is still active.

The problem is that many fail to manifest, while existing cities struggle with outdated infrastructure, homelessness, and other issues.

But Flannery Associates does have a massive amount of land in its corner and California needs more housing, so it’ll be interesting to see if this thing — or any similar project — really happens.

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