Billionaires consortium unveils $400M housing fund for proposed city
Controversial Solano County project backed by Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs aims to lure residents with down-payment assistance ahead of referendum
California Forever, a venture backed by a consortium of tech billionaires including Marc Andreessen, has disclosed a $400 million down-payment assistance fund as part of its ambitious plan to construct a new city in Solano County.
The project is funded by prominent figures, Reid Hoffman and Laurene Powell Jobs in addition to Andreessen, and is facing scrutiny from locals and environmental groups concerned about farmland loss, potential infrastructure impacts, and a secretive land acquisition process.
The initiative is focused on property between San Francisco and Sacramento and aims to accommodate up to 400,000 residents. Its backers recently filed a ballot initiative for public endorsement, the San Francisco Standard reported. The new fund would help finance home acquisitions by the proposed city’s first residents.
As the project navigates regulatory hurdles, it requires approximately 13,500 signatures to qualify for the November ballot, adhering to Solano County’s Orderly Growth Initiative, which mandates voter approval for rezoning.
Having acquired about 50,000 acres, California Forever intends to develop the city on 18,600 acres, and has emphasized it’s a smaller footprint than existing cities in the region. Preliminary plans include a grid layout, transit hub, car-free streets and a warehouse district reminiscent of San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.
The proposed ballot measure links community expansion to job creation, committing to generating 15,000 jobs paying above 125 percent of Solano County’s average wage as the population reaches 50,000. Failure to meet that goal would halt further development. The company has provided assurances that remote employment for new residents in other cities would contribute to the job creation tally.
To garner public support, California Forever is offering a substantial assistance package, including $400 million for down payments, $200 million for revitalization of existing Solano County downtowns, $70 million for scholarships and small business grants, and a $30 million fund for parks and green spaces. Additionally, plans include an expansion of the security zone around Travis Air Force Base.
The company claims to have engaged with over 12,000 residents through discussions, town halls and surveys, emphasizing their commitment to community input.
California Forever envisions the new city as a self-sustaining community with walkable neighborhoods, schools, parks and local businesses.
— Ted Glanzer