Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates may be planning to build a cutting-edge "smart city" right in Arizona.
A real estate investment firm owned by Gates recently bought a giant plot of land in the far west Valley for $80 million, with the hope of building a forward-thinking community called Belmont that would be full of new technologies and high-speed data networks.
The firm bought 25,000 acres of land off Interstate 10 in Tonopah, about 50 miles west of Phoenix.
The smart city would create 80,000 homes, have 3,400 acres of office, commercial and retail space and 470 acres for public schools.
The streets would be filled with self-driving cars and every home equipped with features you control with your smartphone or iPad.
Ron Schott, with the Arizona Technology Council, said that building a "smart city" from scratch is a lot easier than trying to rebuild an existing community.
"If you asked people five years ago, 'Will there be unmanned automobiles driving around Phoenix and the Valley?' they'd have said you're nuts," said Schott. "But guess what, we've had that now for quite some time."
There's no timetable for when the "smart city" would be built, but Schott said it could easily be done in the next five to 10 years.
Plus, the proposed Interstate 11 freeway would connect the Belmont area to Las Vegas.
Gates hopes the city will be about the same size and population as Tempe. There is no word yet on when the project will begin.
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