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Exclusive: A look at Quay Valley


By Roy Higgs

While California’s verdant Central Valley is the fastest growing area in the state, the entire population of the 22,500-square-mile region is a comparatively modest 6.5 million people — Los Angeles County alone boasts over 50% more residents. However, this single region, which is responsible for producing 25% of all of the food consumed in the United States, is expected to absorb many of the 10 million people the state is projected to grow by over the next few decades. It is also home to one of the most ambitious and distinctive new developments in modern American history: Quay Valley.

Conceived as a “model town for the 21st Century,” Quay Valley is designed to be a 100% solar powered, self-sustaining residential community. The Quay Valley site, located about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, encompasses 7,500 acres of private land along the Interstate 5 Freeway. Integrating the best qualities of new urbanism in a unique rural context, the project is at the forefront of a movement that Quay Valley developer GROW Holdings refers to as “New Ruralism.”

The GROW Holdings acronym stands for Green Renewable Organic and Water, appropriate for a project that aims to set new standards in using principles of organic farming, environmental stewardship, water preservation and resource conservation to become one of the most modern and environmentally responsible communities in the world.

Much more than just a residential development, however, the Quay Valley master plan incorporates robust retail, education, entertainment and hospitality features. All told, the project is slated to include approximately 25,000 homes and 20 million sq. ft. of commercial space. Formal announcements of the project’s initial anchor tenants are expected later this year. Quay Valley’s 2,000 acres of retail and entertainment is not just flexible and phase-able, but has been designed to make Quay Valley a true one-of-a-kind destination.

Highlights include: an action sports park with extreme sports like whitewater kayaking, water skiing and rock climbing, as well as the largest manmade surf opportunity in the world; an extreme-sports-themed hotel geared to outdoor and adventure enthusiasts; an array of sports fields and facilities, including a small stadium; multiple museums and cultural exhibits; a festival grounds area suitable for large gatherings, promotions and special events; a winery-style spa and resort destination; and a remarkable Serengeti African Safari Experience, complete with animals provided by San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy.

The team of architects, engineers and assorted environmental, design and development experts behind the Quay Valley plan constitutes a kind of “All Star Team,” tasked with answering the fundamental question: is there a better way? The answers to that question have sparked the innovation that will help define Quay Valley: floating solar fields to reduce evaporation, a next-generation water capture, treatment and reuse system (that will reuse 90% of Quay Valley’s water), and roadways constructed from specialized materials designed to minimize heat holding and dampen the urban heat island effect.

Most remarkable of all, however, is the 5-mile Hyperloop transportation system that will weave its way through the project. The first working Hyperloop in the world, the system is being built by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Based on the concept initially proposed by Elon Musk, the Hyperloop utilizes a large pneumatic tube—a vacuum environment — that can transport passengers at hundreds of miles per hour.

Construction is set to begin on community infrastructure in 2016, with new interchanges, roads, walkways, and public spaces. In 2017, construction on the project’s first buildings will get underway, with the project’s first phase completed by 2018. Quay Valley might seem to be in the middle of nowhere, but with five full miles of frontage on both sides of the interstate, 26 million people within a 2.5 hour drive, and a projected 10 million visitors a year, the anticipated 75,000 residents of this “city of the future” might soon find themselves in the middle of it all.

Roy Higgs of Annapolis, Md.-based Roy Higgs International is the master planner for the 1,900-acre entertainment destination within the Quay Valley project. He worked closely with GROW Holdings CEO Quay Hays on the contents of this profile. Roy can be reached at [email protected].

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