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Bill Gates linked to $80M property deal to build a smart city in Arizona


The undeveloped land is about 45 minutes outside of Phoenix. Arizona-based real estate investment group Belmont Partners says the community will incorporate high-speed digital networks, data centers, self-driving cars, and other new technologies into its ...


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by Monica Nickelsburg on November 13, 2017 at 4:46 pmNovember 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm Comments  1 Share  49 Tweet Share  9 Reddit Email Get fancy! GeekWire Gala tix here Microsoft Founder and philanthropist Bill Gates speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Global Burden of Disease study in Seattle(GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) Bill Gates is apparently joining the ranks of technologists who want to build a better city. One of his investment firms has purchased nearly 25,000 acres of land for $80 million to build a smart city community in Arizona, the Arizona Republic reports. The undeveloped land is about 45 minutes outside of Phoenix. Arizona-based real estate investment group Belmont Partners says the community will incorporate high-speed digital networks, data centers, self-driving cars, and other new technologies into its infrastructure. A new investment firm called MtLemmon invested the $80 million to get the project off the groundThe Republic discovered the connection to Gates by linking the investment group’s tax mailing address with the Kirkland, Washheadquarters of Cascade Investments and an office of the Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationRepresentatives of Gates have not responded to GeekWire’s inquiries on the issue nor confirmed the connection between him and MtLemmon. The investment will help create Belmont, “a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology,” according to a press release issued Nov3. Belmont’s proximity to Phoenix could further develop the region as a hub for self-driving carsAlphabet’s autonomous car company, Waymo announced plans to test a fleet of its driverless vehicles in Phoenix last week. Belmont will have 80,000 residential units, 3,800 acres of industrial, office, and commercial space, 3,400 acres of open space, and 460 acres for public schools. “Belmont is an incredible opportunity for the state of Arizona,” Grady Gammage, Jr., an attorney representing Belmont Partners, said in a statement“Envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost-efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric.” The tech industry is becoming acutely interested in cities and innovations that can make them run more efficientlyAlphabet’s Sidewalk Labs is building a high-tech waterfront community in Toronto and Amazon is seeking a home for its second headquarters with a modern transportation infrastructure and an appetite for innovationIt’s not clear how involved Gates will be in Belmont, but the smart city’s goals appear similar to those of Alphabet and Amazon Monica Nickelsburg is GeekWire’s Civic Innovation Editor, covering technology-driven solutions urban challenges and the intersection of tech and politicsBefore joining GeekWire, she was a producer on The Week's digital team in New York City and interned for Forbes, NBC, and The Daily BeastMonica holds a BA in journalism and history from New York UniversityFollow her @mnickelsburgSupport STEM education: Donate to Geeks Give BackGeekWire is once again proud to partner with Bank of America to support Geeks Give Back, a community-wide effort to raise more than $1 million for the Washington State Opportunity ScholarshipThis unique program provides scholarships to low- and middle-income Washington state residents pursuing their bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and mathHelp us foster the next generation of developers, scientists and mathematicians in our communitiesAll donations are matched 100% by the State of Washington- supercharging your impact! 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Comments 1 Share  49 Tweet Share  9 Reddit Email Previous StoryNew York-based ping pong social club SPiN opening a giant location in downtown Seattle Next StoryPortland architecture firm aims (really) high with proposal for tower to be tallest on the West Coast Filed Under: Civic Innovation  Tagged With: Arizona • belmont • Bill Gates • Civic Innovation GeekWire Newsletters Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline Email address Subscribe GeekWire Daily - Top headlines daily GeekWire Weekly - Most-read stories of the week, delivered Sunday GeekWire Sports Tech - The intersection of sports & technology, delivered weekly GeekWire Space & Science - Weekly headlines from Alan Boyle, award-winning aerospace and science editor GeekWire Podcasts — Weekly update with our latest audio episodes GeekWire Cloud Tech Weekly — Cloud and developer technology, delivered weekly GeekWire Mid-week Update — Most-read stories so far this week, delivered Wednesday GeekWire Local Deals — Special offers for Pacific Northwest area readers Send Us a Tip Have a scoop that you'd like GeekWire to cover? Let us know. Send Us a Tip See MoreGeekWire Events Related Stories Bill Gates invests in veggie burger that ‘bleeds’ like beef to feed the masses and save the planet New $200M fund, raised by former Gates advisors, will invest in genomics and digital health innovations Gates Foundation is giving $279M to help UW study global population health, the largest private donation in university history Univof Washington names new computer science building after Bill & Melinda Gates Previous StoryNew York-based ping pong social club SPiN opening a giant location in downtown Seattle Next StoryPortland architecture firm aims (really) high with proposal for tower to be tallest on the West Coast Like what you're reading? 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