Bill Gates invests $80M to create smart city in Arizona

November 13, 2017 //By Rich Pell
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has reportedly invested $80 million through one of his investment firms to kickstart the development of a new "smart" master-planned community in Arizona to be built from the ground up.

Comprising almost 25,000 acres of land, the new community - called Belmont - is located about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix. According to Arizona real estate investment firm Belmont Partners, which received the investment, the community is to be a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model that could help provide a template for the development of a sustainable 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," the company said in a press release.

Plans for the community - which would be comparable in size and projected population to Tempe, AZ - call for as many as 80,000 homes, 3,800 acres of industrial, office, and retail space, as well as 3,400 acres of open space and 470 acres for public schools. Its location coincides with a proposed I-11 freeway, which would run right through Belmont and connect to Las Vegas.

According to a company representative, "We know of virtually no other property in the United States so strategically positioned, already entitled, and yet presenting a nearly blank slate of opportunity."

The investment was reportedly made by a firm controlled by Cascade Investment LLC - an investment group owned by Bill Gates. No timeline has been set for construction at this time.

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