Bill Gates purchases Arizona land to build future 'smart city'

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If you want to take up residency at Bill Gates' connected city of Belmont, you're going to have to wait.

Bill Gates just bought a 25,000-acre plot of land in Arizona's desert for $80M, where he plans to build a "smart city" from scratch.

If you go 45 minutes west of Arizona, you'll see huge swathes of empty land in the West Valley.

A new investment firm called Mt. Lemmon invested the $80 million to get the project off the ground.

"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", said news site AZ Central. Representatives of Gates have not responded to GeekWire's inquiries on the issue nor confirmed the connection between him and Mt. Lemmon.

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Local leaders are billing the news as the single biggest economic development announcement in the city's history. Updates on the announcement will be provided as more information becomes available.

"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 centres, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs", a statement from Belmont Partners said.

Belmont's proximity to Phoenix could further develop the region as a hub for self-driving cars.

Over the past two years Waymo, Google's driverless auto business, Uber, Lyft, General Motors and Intel have been testing hundreds of autonomous cars in the city of Phoenix. Aptly named Belmont, this futuristic city could accommodate around 80,000 residential units after giving up 470 acres for public schools and 3,800 acres for commercial space.

Belmont, Arizona, which will house around 160,000 people in 80,000 homes, will embrace "cutting-edge technology" throughout the city, which is to be built on a desert area now occupied by just a few dozen people.

It added: "The new investment will help Belmont become a template for the development of a sustainable city capitalising on cutting-edge infrastructure". "Finally Arizona's getting recognized for being a place for innovation". Belmont is the latest to be announced, but Google's sister company Sidewalk Labs recently unveiled plans to construct an entire new future city on the Toronto waterfront. "He's coming to Arizona", Ronald Schott, executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Council, told WPNX.

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