Quay Valley Lands a Hyperloop. Huh? What? Where?

Friday, March 06, 2015
Hyperloop in Quay Valley (illustration: HTT/ JumpStartFund)

Probably the best way to get around at Quay Valley Ranch (pdf), the Central Valley “model town for the 21st century” run entirely on clean power with “sustainable permanent agriculture,” would be the 200-mph hyperloop—if either of these actually get built.

Last week, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced it had secured the land to build a slower, five-mile version of the 760-mph L.A.-to-S.F. transportation system envisioned by Silicon Valley billlionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2013—along the edge of Quay Hays’ 9-year-old yet-to-be-realized community vision.

Neither have secured the money for their endeavors, but the crowdfunded HTT says it has enough to plan for a public offering in the 3rd quarter to raise $100 million for a launch next year. The hyperloop would quickly become financially sustaining as the transportation backbone for Quay Valley.

Quay Valley is in the final stages of permitting, according to the International Business Times, and construction of infrastructure and the Hyperloop could begin early next year.

Hays’ company, GROW Holdings, announced last month that it had revived the dormant development that never quite got off the ground, and submitted new plans for the community to Kings County. The original plan in 2007 envisioned 25,000 homes, resorts, hotels and shopping venues on 12,000 acres in dusty terrain just off the Interstate 5, south of Kettleman City.

What Hays didn’t envision was having his expected water rights sold to a Bay Area consortium, and the onset of the Great Recession. He sued over the water rights and won $128.6 million in April 2014, but didn’t avoid the crippling economic downturn or get the water. An appeal is pending on the lawsuit.

Hays has taken an interesting path to CEO of Green Renewable Organic & Water (GROW) and Quay Valley. His resume begins in 1979 as marketing director for the Nederlander Organization, one of the country’s largest operators of legitimate theatres and music venues. He was promotions and marketing director for KROQ radio in L.A. and managed the Hollywood Palace Theater, before sequeing into publishing.

Hays was co-president of the Fleming/Hays Group from 1987 to 1991 and founder/president of General Publishing Group. He published “Secrets of World Class Lovers” by the mother of actress Drew Barrymore, “The Playboy Book: Forty Years” and “Frank Sinatra: An American Legend” by daughter Nancy. Hays wrote a spirited defense of the Sinatras in a scathing letter to the Los Angeles Times protesting a negative review of Nancy’s book.

The company went bankrupt in 2000 and he got into the movie business. He worked at RKO Pictures and started a company called Idiom Films and Entertainment. The business failed and in 2003 he got into the booming real estate business. In 2007, he started Kings County Ventures LLC to develop Quay Valley Ranch.

And then came the bust.

Musk conjured up hyperloop over frustration that the $68-billion bullet-train championed by Governor Jerry Brown would never get built. He wanted to send passengers and their cars zipping in pressurized tubes, elevated along the I-5 and I-580 freeways, floating on air, from Los Angeles to San Francisco at $20 a pop.

We’re not quite there yet.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Quay Valley: The Solar-Powered, Self-Sustaining, Hyperloop-Connected City of the Future (by Anthony Cuthbertson, International Business Times)

Hyperloop Construction Starts Next Year With the First Full-Scale Track (by Alex Davies, Wired)

Hyperloop’s 1st Home May Be Central Valley Eco-Utopia (by David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle)

The First Full-Scale Hyperloop Test Track May Launch in California Next Year (by Russell Brandom, The Verge)

First Full-Scale Hyperloop Test Track Could Launch by 2016 (by Patrick Clarke, Travel Pulse)

Water Fight Leads to $128.6 Million Award (by Seth Nidever, Hanford Sentinel)

Entrepreneur Has Big, Green Ideas for a New Little Town (by Patrick Hoge, San Francisco Chronicle)

Hyperloop: Musk’s Futuristic Alternative to State’s Troubled Bullet-Train (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

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