California Forever adds sports complex to utopian city plan

Solano County voters to decide in November whether to rezone farmland for the project

California Forever adds sports complex to utopian city planned for Solano County
California Forever's Jan Sramek with a rendering of Solano Sports Complex proposed by California Forever (California Forever, LinkedIn)

California Forever has added a lively sweetener for voters who this fall will decide the future of a utopian city built on farmland in Solano County: a huge sports complex.

Fairfield-based California Forever unveiled plans for a regional youth sports complex at the proposed city between Travis Air Force Base and the city of Rio Vista, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The firm submitted more than 20,000 signatures last month to qualify the East Solano Plan for the November ballot, when voters will decide whether to allow urban development on land zoned for agriculture. 

The proposed Solano Sports Complex would include facilities for baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming and more. It would also host sports camps, leagues and tournaments.

The developer said it would address a shortage of sports facilities in a region dotted with windmills and cows.

The development, backed by billionaires in Silicon Valley, would join thousands of homes California Forever wants to build in a new city across 18,700 acres in Solano County that could be home to as many as 400,000 residents, according to the Business Times.

The sports complex hinges on whether voters approve the East Solano Plan zoning measure. 

Development would happen gradually in tandem with city growth, with construction beginning the day California Forever breaks ground for homes.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Jan Sramek, CEO of California Forever, unveiled the plans behind the utopian city in January, promising to build a sustainable community to counteract the state housing crisis.

The unnamed development would create a walkable downtown with thousands of homes punctuated by green space. Sramek said he expects to start with 50,000 residents within the next decade, with homes starting at $400,000. 

The controversial project is backed by such moguls as Marc Andreessen, Michael Moritz and Laurene Powell Jobs.

The proposed city faces strong opposition by elected officials and environmental groups who say Sramek’s plan is a speculative money grab that’s light on details. Sramek outraged locals by using Folsom-based Flannery Associates to secretly buy more than $800 million in farmland, then suing farmers who refused to sell.

Reps. John Garamendi and Mike Thompson, who oppose the project, were initially alarmed that foreign adversaries or investors might be buying up land because of its proximity to the Air Force base.

The California Forever proposal includes an initial $400 million to help residents and Air Force base families buy homes in the community or for new affordable housing, as well as an initial guarantee of 15,000 local jobs paying a salary of at least $88,000 a year.

While California is desperate for more housing, critics of the project say it would be more environmentally sound to build within existing cities than to pave over farms. 

— Dana Bartholomew

Read more

California Forever Submits Signatures for November Ballot
San Francisco
California Forever submits signatures for November ballot initiative
California Forever Details Plan for City in Solano County
San Francisco
California Forever details plan for utopian city in Solano County
Clock Ticking for California Forever to Win Over Voters
San Francisco
Clock ticking for California Forever to win votes in Solano County