Gates Community: From Co-Founding Microsoft to Building a City

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Bill and Melinda Gates

In honor of #GivingTuesday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with Facebook, will be matching up to $2 million to support nonprofits. On November 28th, donations made through Facebook’s charitable giving tools to U.S. nonprofits will be matched up to $50K per nonprofit, $1K per fundraiser, and all fees for donations made to nonprofits will be waived.

That’s not all the billionaire philanthropist, whose mega-million dollar charitable foundation with wife Melinda earned them both the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year, is up to this fall.

The Microsoft co-founder is investing $80 million in a “forward-thinking” community with “cutting edge technologies” – a “smart city” with 80,000 residential units for close to 200,000 people.

Belmont Partners, a real estate investment firm backed by Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC, has purchased 24,800 acres of land in southwestern Arizona for schools, housing, offices, commercial and retail space in a master-planned town to be called, as the partners’ name suggests, Belmont.

“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,” according to the press release.

“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.”

Phoenix

The yet-to-be developed community about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix off I-10 near Tonopah will have a freeway running to Reno, Nevada, and will be developed around “solar power and electric distribution systems, autonomous auto testing, broadband, and data centers,” according to a press release.

“Bill Gates is known for innovation and those kinds of things and I think he picked the right place. He’s coming to Arizona,” said Ronald Schott, executive emeritus at the Arizona Technology Council, to the local News 12 channel.

According to Belmont Partners, 3,800 acres will go towards office, commercial and retail space with 470 acres used for public schools. “Finally Arizona’s getting recognized for being a place for innovation,” added Schott.

“Envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric,” said Grady Gammage, a spokesman for the venture. “This is a very long term, very patient investment.”

“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,” Belmont Properties said.

It won’t be the first visionary city in Arizona. About an hour north of Phoenix, the community of Arcosanti was built by architect Paolo Soleri in the ’70s, modeling what he called “arcology,” integrating architecture and ecology. Soleri is credited with innovating architectural design principles for densely populated habitats with low-impact on the environment—and for inspiring Tatooine in Star Wars.

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn