Belmont is a proposed planned city in the Phoenix metropolitan area of Arizona, United States. The development, a partnership between billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and local real estate investors, will be a "smart city" designed around emerging technologies. It will be located in the West Valley area, along Interstate 10 near Tonopah.
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. In the mid 2000s, developers proposed Douglas Ranch, a long-term development that would house over 290,000 people, on a nearby site. 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.
The land Belmont is to be built on currently consists of 24,800 acres (10,000 ha) of undeveloped desert, which will be divided into 3,800 acres (1,500 ha) of office, commercial, and retail space, 3,800 acres (1,500 ha) of industrial space, 3,400 acres (1,400 ha) of open space, and 470 acres (190 ha) for schools. The remaining land will house 80,000 residential units. Upon full build out, the community is planned to support a population as large as Tempe.
The development aims to integrate autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, and data centers into the city.
Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton, a former Phoenix resident, said that development of Belmont would push sprawl farther into the threatened Sonoran Desert. He also stated that climate change would pose a danger to the long-term habitability of the Phoenix area, as water becomes scarcer and temperatures rise. Henry Grabar of Slate criticized the media circus surrounding Gates's involvement, as well as what he called the "foolish nature" of the proposal.
- Weiner, Sophie (November 12, 2017). "Bill Gates is Buying Land in Arizona to Build a "Smart City"". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
- Reagor, Catherine (November 8, 2017). "Bill Gates invests $80 million in real estate on Phoenix area's western edge". Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
- Grabar, Henry (November 14, 2017). "Bill Gates' Smart City in Arizona Is Not Smart, Not a City, and Has Little to Do With Bill Gates". Slate. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- Buono, Bianca (November 10, 2017). "Bill Gates buys big chunk of land in Arizona to build 'smart city'". KPNX 12 News. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
- Talton, Jon (November 9, 2017). "Bill Gates buys Arizona land — hilarity, or tragedy, ensues". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 12, 2017.