Bill Gates buys land for a 36 square mile smart city west of Phoenix Arizona

Bill Gates has bought a majority interest in 25,000 acres of land about 45 minutes west of Phoenix, in an area called the West Valley. It is an area called Belmont.

According to Belmont Partners, a real estate investment group based in Arizona, the goal is to turn the land into its own “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 news release.

According to Belmont Partners, 3,800 acres will go towards office, commercial and retail space. Then, 470 acres will be used for public schools. Plus, there’s room for 80,000 residential units.

“Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona, Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model,” said Belmont Properties.

The proposed freeway I-11, which would connect the Belmont area to Las Vegas,

24 thoughts on “Bill Gates buys land for a 36 square mile smart city west of Phoenix Arizona”

  1. I wondered what kind of housing it would have, because it could just as easily have detached single family housing on individual plots as anything else. It says it will have similar population and density to Tempe, Arizona which has a population of 161,719 and density of 3,959.4 people per square mile. So definitely light residential only given NYC has a density almost 7 times greater at 27,000 p/sqrm,

    I get that not everyone wants to live in high density locations, and as a draw they are relying on having fully modern infrastructure, but I would think they would want to go a little further in setting themselves apart from other towns. Sure, a walkable town in hot as Hell Arizona is not a great idea, but it would be interesting to see it done by perhaps having every building require an awning, or require street width and orientation, and building height be just right so the streets are always shaded, all assuming it is done with medium and high density residential with ground floor commercial.

  2. You can’t build entire cities at a go in the US. Not with current US city planning/building practices and not w/o NIMBY greentards tying it up in court (or is AZ still Red enough to not put up with that crap despite all the California libtards who’ve carpetbagged the state over the last 25 years?)

    • The fact that a lot of stuff is being built there suggests that it can be done. Arizona is trying to get all the water allocated to it from the Colorado. That means they need more people to waste water.

      It also means California cities become more crowed as Zonies get in their motor-homes every summer and park those things everywhere anywhere 20 miles or less from the beach trying to escape the 118F heat in Arizona. It can make parking difficult. About half of them know someone and park outside their homes, the other half just park anywhere. San Diego is just covered by these things.

      The hottest I ever was, was in Arizona in the summer in the middle of a very black huge parking lot…a camper dealership. No breeze at all. I had to stay there waiting for someone for a couple hours. The asphalt was tacky, it was so hot…and the soles of my shoes blackened by it. It must have been 130F or hotter. I have been in 114F in the Anza Borrego desert and was not affected at all. It felt warm in the lungs…that’s all. Dry is definitely better. Hiked for hours, no problem. That parking lot was hell…though it was not humid that day, just incredibly hot. If I wasn’t in that parking lot, I probably would have been fine. Sill, it has soured me on Arizona.

  3. I think the big concern I’d have is, “Why there?”

    In the case of natural cities, you can virtually always answer that question. You get port cities along the coast at good harbors, you get
    mining and agricultural towns in the interior where the Earth dictates they should be, towns spring up along majory paths of travel to
    service travelers, tourist traps where there’s something scenic…

    Once there’s some reason for people to be in a place, other people show up to provide them services, and often the local economy
    diversifies, other activities become feasible just because there are people there. But the “why there” serves as an anchor, and, typically,
    if a city loses its “why there”, it declines, because the other activities could just as easily be done someplace else that does have
    a “why there”.

    What’s the “why there” in this case? I don’t think there is one.

    Now, there ARE activities you can do pretty much anywhere, paper and bit pushing, intellectual work. But, again, you can do them pretty
    much anywhere, so you’d normally expect them to get done someplace where there’s already an existing reason for a city to be.

    Will it work to just plop a city someplace arbitrary, and expect it to survive there without any “why there” to anchor it? I have my doubts.

    But I could be wrong. Maybe he’ll succeed in building a city that in sme way just works better than a naturally grown city, and that
    itself becomes enough reason for people to be there rather than someplace else. It will be interesting to watch

    • L:ook at it the other way, why Seattle? Everything a computer whiz does could be done it their mom’s basement, not it the downtown core.

        • How about Las Vegas? That is a city that has no “why there” outside of an arbitrary decision to build it there, and have appropriate laws to allow the main industries.

        • Not for software. It is mostly for younger prgrammers who want a hip place to live.

          And why not Seattle? Because real estate is crazy expensive.

          • To quote myself, “other activities become feasible just because there are people there.”

            Portland didn’t originate because of programmers. Programmers could work in Portland because it already existed due to the port.

    • I think the “Why there” is given. It is not extrinsic but intrinsic. It is because it is planned and technologically advanced. Is that enough to attract people? I think so, as long as it is sufficiently superior: If the internet is 100 times faster, If there are accommodations for self-driving cars that other cities don’t have., If signal lights are intelligent rather than retarded, If there are landing areas for helicopters, flying electric people movers and delivery drones…

      Masdar City has ideas that would be applicable to Arizona:

      I suspect Americans are not ready for a car-free city…or even road reduced. But some of the ideas are compatible, I think.

    • The “Why there?” is that the higher ups have already decided it. The people (billionaires, politicians, planners) who decide where buildings will occur have determined it.

      I knew about this years ago and I am no expert. I picked up someone attending a city planning conference in Phoenix 6 or 7 years ago in my taxicab. We got to talking and he asked me where I thought the center of Phoenix was going to be in the future. I don’t remember what I said, but I was quite surprised when he said it would be Buckeye, Arizona, which is out in the boondocks.

      I just checked Wikipedia and found this: “The area east of Tonopah has been sought for suburban development since the 1990s, but the lack of growth in the West Valley until the 2000s stalled the project. Bill Gates’s involvement in the planned community was announced on November 8, 2017. His investment company, Cascade Investment, reportedly purchased an $80 million stake in the project.” I guess I was right about what I heard, because Tonopah is near Buckeye. Both are about 30+ miles due west of Downtown Phoenix.

      So, to sum up and repeat myself, it’s the ‘powers that be’ who predetermined the “Why there?”

  4. So, what’s the economic base of this city going to be? Purely activities that could take place anywhere? No manufacturing or agriculture?

    Sounds to me likely to produce a bifurcated economy; The wealthy doing paper/bit pushing, and the poor being servants to the wealthy, and next to nothing in between.

    • I agree with you on this. I was recently down there in AZ and the amount of construction going on is massive! Phoenix looks like a city of the future, with it’s new desert colored and lizard decorated freeway ramps, and on-trend building designs and materials. Driving through, all of these little towns, or cities, just pop up out of nowhere and then end just as fast. Maricopa, about a half hour or so south of Phoenix, is comprised of several residential subdivisions, which is how the locals explain where they live in relation to each other. Anyway, there are some beautiful houses and a crap ton of agents wanting to get you in them. It is one of the fastest growing cities for some reason. A great deal of residents are entrepreneurs and have set up shop there, most seeming to already have made some money and good investments wherever they brought their money from. The rest of the people there are your WalMart workers and casino employees (their Harrah`s owned casino is undergoing major renovations and includes an AMC entertainment center and nightclub with several restaurants and tower rooms), and a large number are employees of the small businesses popping up around there. There is a heavy Facebook presence from the city and its residents. There are countless group pages and many residents are getting recommendations for local services from those groups, however, there are a huge amount of guys doing odd jobs, landscaping, carpet cleaning, pest control, etc and trying to fight for the business. If you dont have some unique product or service and business model, then you’re just living in the middle of nowhere making minimum wage. I really dont know what the appeal of living out there is. No thanks.

      • Phoenix’s base is things like Boeing, Intel, Paypal, Ebay, Wells Fargo, Honeywell, Orbital ATK, GM. Several of the above are expanding so Phoenix’s tech sector is big and growing. In the 1980s it was Motorola, and it’s just recovering from that shutdown. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gates looked at some long term projections and has determined there to be a growth tech sector for upper middle class careers.

        • It’s the proverbial no-brainer. You buy up scads of deserted land by the square mile for peanuts. Develop it. Put some jobs out there so people have to work if they want to live. Many billions are sheer profit. There’s not much out there to inhibit the process, except for a few rattlesnakes and coyotes (wild dogs).

    • Sounds to me likely to produce a bifurcated economy; The wealthy doing paper/bit pushing, and the poor being servants to the wealthy, and next to nothing in between.

      So they are recreating California? All they need is a lower middle class composed of city/county workers.

  5. Terrific! I have been hoping someone would build a planned innovative modern city in the US. I have a ton of ideas on how to do this. I have been thinking and designing a city for about 2 decades. I am sure Gates’ city would not be as wild as my designs, but anything well planned would be wonderful. It will help wake-up Americans to the idea and make them more receptive to other planned future cities.

    I hope he has the foresight to build a bunch of tunnels even if they don’t plan on using them right away. It is cheap to just make concrete trenches and cover them with big concrete covers…then dirt or whatever. Compare that to the cost of building subways after a city is already built up. Absolutely massive difference.
    Getting everything underground done with ample expansion possibilities is just the right way to go. Water, gas, electrical, communications, sewers, various transport tunnels…get it all in first. And build it smart. Make it all capable of lasting hundreds of years. Cities putting in shoddy stuff they have to dig up in 100 years is stupid, a mess, and very expensive later.

    • I don’t think Gates has the money needed to get all that infrastructure in on his own. It is as it’s always been a catch as catch can developement. There can be plans and right of ways and wishes

    • I posted a similar idea elsewhere a couple months ago:

      Intermediate idea – put 20ft tall utility vaults under the full width of today’s streets, with pillars to support the roadway in wide roads, using a system that continuously trenches (over 20ft deep from above ground), lays reinforcement, pours concrete and builds the road surface back on top. Everything could run through these vaults: gas, water, storm and sanitary sewers, fiber, electricity, giant switched pneumatic tube network (or monorail pods or whatever you like) – all utilities now and in the future – all accessible for maintenance, repairs and upgrades without ever digging up another street. If the underground automated personal and goods transport system becomes sufficiently popular, most roads on the surface could be converted to parks or other amenities.

      And a response to some objections:

      Having a fine-grained electrical grid with switching capabilities at every intersection or few blocks would allow routing around trouble much better than today’s grid. (also with water, transport pods and data) The cables would be electrically insulated and waterproof, possibly with oil cooling and/or heat pipes. Flooding would actually cool them, but likely the sewer would be at the very bottom and electric would be near the top of the vault, so it would require several feet of flood to get to the cables. Also the vaults would be water-tight and the sewers would normally be sealed so they wouldn’t flood the vault, or perhaps sewers could run in their own vaults parallel and sharing a wall with the main vault.

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