The cohort of Silicon Valley tech titans who’ve been hoovering up Bay Space farmland within the hopes of changing it into a brand new metropolis have been accused of deploying “strong-arm ways” and a “divide-and-conquer” technique to gobble up as a lot acreage as attainable. Numerous native farmers say Flannery Associates, the dad or mum firm behind the quixotic California Without end undertaking, has used underhanded ways in its pursuit of a regional actual property hegemony. The allegations had been divulged in a recent court filing related to a lawsuit involving the land disputes.
In August, the New York Occasions reported that Flannery, which was then a completely mysterious firm, had managed to purchase up $800 million of farmland within the Solano County area. The Occasions additionally revealed that Flannery was backed by a coterie of influential Silicon Valley billionaires, together with of us like Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman, and quite a lot of different huge names within the tech trade. Flannery’s grand plan, it was revealed, was to make use of the land it had bought to create a utopian new metropolis, which the Flannery cohort is asking “California Without end.” This supposed metropolis is solely hypothetical for now, however its backers say that sooner or later it may very well be a fantastic, bustling metropolis of the long run.
In fact, step one to constructing this new libertarian wonderland was to purchase up as a lot land as attainable, and to do this, Flannery had to purchase out the individuals who had been already residing there. For probably the most half, the parents who had been already residing there have been the operators of longtime, family-owned farms.
In some instances, negotiations between the corporate’s legal professionals and potential sellers didn’t go the way in which Flannery wished it to go and, in Could, the corporate sued plenty of the farmers, claiming that they had been engaged in anti-competitive practices and value fixing. The farmers, in flip, have accused the billionaire-backed company entity of making an attempt to bully and manipulate them and their households into promoting away their land. Within the current court docket submitting, the farmers dismissed the lawsuit’s claims, alleging that Flannery had repeatedly engaged in “strong-arm ways” in an effort to pry free the land.
Such ways allegedly included makes an attempt to “play one household in opposition to one other by misrepresenting the households’ intentions concerning Flannery’s gives, in hopes that households in any other case unwilling to promote would really feel stress to not disappoint their good friend and neighbor,” the submitting states. In a single specified case, the farmers declare Flannery approached one member of the family, acquired an eighth of a giant tract of family-owned land from them, then sued the opposite seven family members in an try to amass the complete parcel.
On its website, California Without end has denied the cost that it acted in any means untoward, as an alternative characterizing the farmers in query as “a small group of people [who] have engaged in a focused marketing campaign to slander Flannery Associates” and who’re engaged in a nefarious “secret conspiracy.”
Usually, it appears actually laborious to think about that this undertaking will ever materialize. Even when Flannery in some way manages to clean issues over with the locals, the undertaking nonetheless must clear plenty of state and regional regulatory hurdles. These hurdles are wanting doubtful, since a whole lot of native politicians have expressed doubts concerning the viability of the undertaking. If these hurdles, in some way, are cleared, the undertaking’s backers then have to truly construct the majestic metropolis that builders are envisioning. After that, individuals have to maneuver there and town has to retain a sure degree of inhabitants density for the foreseeable future. Then town’s creators have to truly, like, run town…you recognize, without end.
This evokes a complete lot of questions. As an example, will California Without end have a authorities? In that case, what sort of authorities is it going to be? Or is it simply going to be some kind of corporately owned collection of deliberate communities, sorta like an expanded model of Disney’s Storyliving? The entire thing looks as if a large costly mess that’s doomed to fail however I assume it’s best to by no means rely out the disruptive potential of a tech mogul’s unquenchable hubris.