Hi-tech magnate Bill Gates plans to build a new technological city on a vast piece of land in Arizona desert. Mt Lemmon Holdings–an affiliate of Cascade Investment owned by Gates, has bought a 25,000-acre desert land for 80,000 dollars. The new smart community is intended to have technologies like self-driving cars, linked infrastructure, and high-speed internet. The city will be known as ‘Belmont’ referring to Belmont Partners who are the real-estate developers of the new city.
“Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs,” a source inside Belmont Partners commented.
About 3,800 acres of land will be dedicated to retail, commercial, and office purposes, whereas 470 acres will be assigned to schools. 80,000 residential units will also be built to host a community of 182,000 people.
“Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona, Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model,” Belmont Partners explained.
The land of interest is located 80km west of Phoenix, at the intended route for the Interstate 11 highway which is going to link the city to Las Vegas. The area has been under the spotlight since 1990, but no serious steps were taken for its development.
After Gates has abdicated his position at Microsoft in 2006, he directed his efforts to charity. Although his participation was discreet at first, many reports have linked him to the Belmont project.
“Property records list the investment group’s tax mailing address as the Kirkland, Washington, headquarters for Cascade, and an office for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” claimed AZ Central—a news website.
This comes after Sidewalk Labs—a company owned by Google, has lately announced its intention to build a future city in Toronto, Canada. Also, on the other side of the world, another smart city—called ‘Songdo’, has already been built in South Korea.
Being skeptical, some observers believe that constructing smart cities is not a real necessity, as some cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona have excelled in incorporating technology, may be better than the so-called smart cities.