magic starSummarize by Aili

When Was the Last Time We Built a New City?—Asterisk

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the plans and challenges of building a new city called "California Forever" in Solano County, California. The key points covered include:

  • The plan to provide significant community benefits and infrastructure for the new city, while keeping housing prices affordable through economies of scale and subsidies.
  • Attracting commercial tenants and employers to the new city, which is seen as crucial for its success.
  • Addressing the "chicken-and-egg" problem of needing infrastructure to attract residents, and residents to justify the infrastructure.
  • Leveraging the new city's scale and location to complement and support development in existing nearby towns.
  • Lessons learned from engaging with the local community in Solano County and adjusting the plans accordingly.
  • Challenges around water supply and the plan to address it through conservation, utilizing existing water rights, and importing water.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Affordability and Community Benefits

1. What is the plan for keeping housing prices affordable while providing all the promised infrastructure, schools, transit, amenities, and parks?

  • The developer plans to leverage economies of scale, as the fixed costs of infrastructure can be amortized over a large number of residents. They also plan to subsidize certain amenities in the early phases, funded by their existing backers, until the community reaches a critical mass.

2. How is the $500 million in community benefits and $200 million in commercial investments in neighboring towns being funded?

  • The community benefits and commercial investments are being funded gradually over the build-out of the project, with the amounts proportional to the number of homes built. The developer will pay a share of the total each year as the project progresses.

[02] Attracting Employers and Jobs

1. What is the developer's strategy for attracting commercial tenants and employers to the new city?

  • The developer believes the scale of the project, with a potential for 400,000 residents, will be attractive to employers who can grow their business and employee base there over the long term. The location, allowing for easy access to the Bay Area while offering more affordable housing, is also seen as a draw.

2. How does the developer plan to meet the guarantee of 15,000 jobs in Solano County during the build-out to 50,000 residents?

  • The developer is in active discussions with employers, including those at nearby Travis Air Force Base, and is hopeful of having some office tenants on day one. They believe the scale and growth potential of the project will make it an attractive location for employers.

[03] Greenfield vs. Infill Development

1. Why did the developer choose a greenfield development approach over working with existing towns in Solano County?

  • The developer believes greenfield development is necessary to complement infill approaches, as the scale and growth potential of a new city cannot be achieved through piecemeal infill in existing towns. They also argue that it is difficult to attract critical mass and major employers to limited infill opportunities in places like downtown Fairfield.

2. How does the developer see this new city complementing and supporting development in existing Solano County towns?

  • The developer believes the new city can help revitalize nearby towns like Fairfield by bringing the energy and critical mass needed to attract more commercial investment and amenities. They also see the new city's transportation improvements benefiting the entire region.

[04] Lessons Learned from Community Engagement

1. How have the developer's plans changed based on feedback and engagement with the Solano County community?

  • The developer has learned about the importance of actively supporting and helping the nearby Travis Air Force Base, including addressing affordability and spousal employment issues for base personnel. They have also adjusted the location and design of the development to better complement and support the nearby town of Rio Vista.

2. How does the developer respond to the initial concerns about the land buyouts and secrecy around the project?

  • The developer maintains that the land acquisition approach was necessary for a project of this scale, and that they have excellent relationships with 99% of the landowners from whom they purchased property. They have been transparent about the reasons for any lawsuits and have settled most of them.

[05] Lessons from History and Achieving Critical Mass

1. How does the developer plan to be successful in building a walkable American city, when no such city has been built in over 124 years?

  • The developer believes that achieving the necessary scale and regulatory environment is key to building a successful walkable city, which is difficult to do at a smaller scale. They argue that their comprehensive zoning code and focus on transportation improvements can help overcome the historical challenges.

2. What are the developer's biggest barriers to reaching the critical mass needed for a truly urban development?

  • The biggest challenge is transportation, as the developer cannot solve regional transportation issues on their own. They are confident in their ability to coordinate the other complex aspects of the project, but acknowledge the importance of securing the necessary transportation infrastructure and connections.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
© 2024 NewMotor Inc.