Billionaires definitely have crazy ideas. The latest would be to build, from scratch as they say in English, a new city near Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay, reports the New York Times. And not just any new city. It would be a kind of ideal city in which we could walk like in Paris or like in the West Village in New York — something unusual in the United States, where the car is king —, with public transport and clean energy. , and where thousands of jobs would emerge…
According to a document consulted by the famous daily, the project, which dates back to 2017, would review everything from A to Z, from design to construction methods to new forms of governance, all a stone’s throw from San Francisco, in Solano County. At the helm of the project, the mysterious company Flannery Associates, which has invested more than 800 million dollars in agricultural land a hundred kilometers from the Californian metropolis.
Behind this company is Jan Sramek, a 36-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader. He would have succeeded in carrying out a financing round worthy of the Who’s Who of North American tech, explains the New York Times, with personalities such as Sir Michael Moritz, former Google ex-Sequoia Capital, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, investors in the Andreessen Horowitz fund, or even Patrick and John Collison, the co- founders of Stripe. Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of Emerson Collective, and investors like Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross, are also cited…
Beyond the land speculation that such a project is likely to generate in the county of Solano (the price of land purchased in several installments has risen), this new town project encounters a major problem: the military base of Travis. An investigation would be underway to find out who is really behind Flannery Associates, and if foreign funds are not present, understands the wall street journal. According to the business daily, Flannery Associates has purchased 15,000 acres near Travis Air Force Base since 2018. Last but not leastthe company, which has advanced in mystery and secrecy until now, will have to convince the population and local elected officials, which is far from won.
This is not the first time that such projects have emerged from the imagination of billionaires. The start-up incubator Y Combinator announced an ideal city project a few years ago. Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, had invested in SeaSteading, a crazy city project in the open sea, free of all laws and taxes… Elon Musk bought land near Austin, Texas to create a new town, Snailbrook, to house its employees. Besides, isn’t the billionaire trying to colonize the planet Mars?
wall street journal, New York TimesBusiness Insider