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Silicon Valley moguls buying farmland around Air Force Base to create experimental ‘walkable metropolis’



The purchasing of large amounts of land near the United States Travis Air Force Base in a rural area of California raised alarms which led to the Air Force, Department of Agriculture, and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to launch an investigation into the matter. According to a report by The New York Times, the identity of the buyers have been identified.

A group of Silicon Valley moguls allegedly came up with an idea several years ago to build a walkable California metropolis. The group is led by Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs trader who was born in the Czech Republic, and is working with venture capitalists Michael Moritz, Marc Andreessen, and Chris Dixon, and Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn co-founder, venture capitalist, and Democratic party donor, and Laurene Powell Jobs, founder of the Emerson Collective.

Foreign Desk News writes “Solano is currently the poorest county in the region. It is a geographic hotchpotch with parched farmland and Travis Air Force Base, one of the military’s busiest airports and gateway to the Pacific. The purchase of so much land stoked fear throughout the area, prompting two members of Congress to start federal investigations. The company did not try to alleviate fears from lawmakers and state officials in California.”

The story goes that several years ago, Sramek pitched an idea of building a walkable California metropolis that could create thousands of jobs and serve as an experiment for new designs, construction, and new forms of governance. In the past several years, the group has used a business called Flannery Associates to spend some $900 million buying thousands of acres of agricultural land throughout Solano County, near the Northern Eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The company has hired political consultants and approached supervisors, the governor’s office, and members of Congress, and will likely appeal to voters with a full-blown political campaign focused on economic development.

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