Infrastructure

So, Bill Gates Wants to Build a Smart City?

The Microsoft co-founder invested $80 million in 25,000 acres west of Phoenix, Ariz.

by Monique O. Madan, Miami Herald / November 16, 2017
Bill Gates speaks during the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation's Goalkeepers 2017 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Sept. 20, 2017 in New York. (PBG/EMPICS Entertainment/Abaca Press/TNS) TNS

(TNS) –– The richest man in the United States wants to build his own city.

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates put down $80 million for a massive swath of land in Arizona, about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix, KPNX reports.

His goal? Developing 25,000 acres of land into a ‘smart city’ that will be called “Belmont.” The name stems from Belmont Partners, an Arizona-based real estate investment group.

The vision? Transforming a raw, blank slate into a futuristic city filled with driverless cars, endless data centers and buildings totally designed around technology and high-speed internet.

According to Belmont Partners, the city will have space for about 80,000 residential units. In addition, about 3,800 acres will go toward commercial, retail and office space and roughly 470 acres will be used for schools.

“The experimentation that takes place in this new community has the potential to demonstrate the viability of new smart city concepts and serve as an example for cities nationwide and globally,” Brooks Rainwater, director of the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at the National League of Cities, told Business Insider.

The city would have a population of about 182,000, fairly comparable to that of nearby Tempe, Arizona.

“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,” Belmont Partners said in a news release.

So far, it’s unclear when construction will start and whether Microsoft will open up an office in the new town.

©2017 Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.