By Ray Downs – UPI
Billionaire Bill Gates‘ investment group purchased a large plot of land in the Arizona desert to build a city of the future, according to reports.
Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC paid approximately $80 million for a large stake in a 24,800 acre development called Belmont, located 45 minutes outside of Phoenix, the Arizona Republic reported. The area is almost entirely undeveloped at the moment and has few residents, but development form Belmont Partners said they have big plans to turn the swath of desert into a “smart 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,” Belmont Partners said in a press release, according to KPNX.
In addition to 80,000 residential units, Belmont Partners said the new city will have 3,800 acres for office, commercial and retail space and 470 acres for public schools.
“Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Ariz., Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model,” Belmont Properties said.
According to Business Real Estate Weekly of Arizona, the Belmont development is expected to rely heavily on the future construction of Interstate 11, which is planned to go right through Belmont, connecting it to both Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well as several other states along the proposed route.
The highway’s first phase of construction is expected to be completed within the next year.
“This is a very long-term investment that has attracted a West Coast technology and real estate investor,” real estate attorney Grady Gammage, speaking for the development firm, told the Arizona Republic.