The enormously successful founder of Microsoft has purchased approximately 24,800 acres of land in Arizona, approximately 45 minutes away from Phoenix, with the express goal of building a "smart city" that will be designed and built from the start with modern technological needs in mind.
Mt Lemmon Holdings - an affiliate of Gates' firm Cascade Investment - has paid $80,000 for a stake in nearly 25,000 acres of unpopulated desert.
The community by Belmont is to be designed around autonomous vehicles, high-speed networks, data centers, digital networks, the latest manufacturing technologies as well as autonomous logistics hubs. Belmont Partners reportedly said, "Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model".
As part of the new city, 3,800 acres will go towards office, commercial and retail space, and 470 acres will be used for public schools.
Gates sees the city, tentatively named "Belmont", as a chance to build information networking into the bedrock of any future development there.
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Arizona is considered to be a tech friendly state. Originally built as an interconnected smart city meant to lure global investment, the majority of residents are now South Koreans who have been priced out of Seoul. Several major companies in the driverless vehicle industry such as, Waymo, Uber and Intel, are testing their innovations in the state. Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation segment of Alphabet, last month committed $50 million to be used during the initial phase of planning as well as pilot testing the development of a neighborhood in Toronto.
It's designed as a model neighbourhood for the 21st century, with reduced pollution, shortened commutes, safer streets and better weather.
Only a week later after the Toronto announcement, Saudi Arabia announced plans to invest $500 billion in a new global hub, created to push the boundaries of innovation and exemplify the future of civilization.
Ronald Schott, the executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Council, not only hailed Gates' initiative but also noted that he picked the right spot for the community as the proposed Interstate 11 freeway running from Mexico to Reno, Nevada will run through the futuristic city.
"This is a very long term, very patient investment", Gammage said.