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Report: Bill Gates-owned company plans to build ‘smart city’ in Arizona

In this Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 file photo, Bill Gates talks to reporters about the 2016 annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig,File)

PHOENIX — A company headed by Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates is reportedly planning on using more than 20,000 acres of land west of Phoenix to build a “smart city.”

According to CNN, Cascade Investment, LLC. will design a community “around high-speed networks, autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and autonomous logistics hubs.”

It was announced last week that Cascade Investment, LLC., which is owned by Gates, paid $80 million for the 24,800-acre Belmont development near the White Tank Mountains close to Buckeye.

The project will be lead by the Arizona-based real estate investment firm Belmont Partners. The company told CNN that the size of the project will be similar to the city of Tempe.

In a statement, spokesman Grady Gammage said “envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric.”

It is not clear how directly involved Gates will be in the project.

There is no estimated completion date for the community, Gammage said, calling it a “very long term, very patient investment.” The developers are counting on the development of Interstate 11 to boost growth in the area.

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