In the heart of southeastern New Mexico lies a small scientific ghost town that will harbor the latest next-generation technology. But not one person will be able to reap the benefits because it will have a population of zero.
In Lea County, officials have planned a $1 billion city without residents to help researchers test advances from renewable energy to intelligent traffic systems to automated washings machines, reported the Associated Press.
Sam Cobb, mayor of Hobbs, N.M., a community that will be close to the new ghost town, said the research facility will look like an abandoned city. But it will be the key to diversifying the economy of nearby New Mexican communities.
It brings so many great opportunities and puts us on a world stage, Cobb told the AP.
The town will be modeled on the real city of Rock Hill, S.C. It will be complete with houses, roads and commercial structures. The houses will even include basic necessities, such as plumbing, appliances and furniture.
The purpose of the town will be to test technology on infrastructure without it interfering in everyday life, reported Sky News. For example, some researchers will be testing technology on electric grids and traffic lights while others will simultaneously be testing smart cars.
The only thing we won't be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up -- I hope, said Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, reported the AP.
The city will be built by Pegasus Holdings. Brumley said the company plans to begin constructing the CITE, also known as Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation, by June 30.
CITE has the potential to fill an enormous void that currently exists in the world of testing and evaluation, said Brumley in a statement. Since first announcing the project, we've received tremendous interest and support from around the world from many who recognize the time has come for such a unique project.
Investors developing the CITE were looking for a large open space in order to develop the facility. Brumely said they discovered several potential sites across the country, but we kept coming back to New Mexico. New Mexico is unique in so many ways, he told the AP.
Pegasus also expects to create a number of jobs with the facility.
Pegasus Global intends CITE to be a privately financed, privately owned and operated facility, committed to open access for all types of innovators, researchers, and investors, said the company in a statement. Pegasus anticipates CITE will generate at least 350 direct jobs and 3,500 indirect jobs in its design, development, construction and ongoing operational phases.
Gov. Susan Martinez joined officials to announce the final site for the selection of the project. She said it was one of the most innovative developments New Mexico has seen. She also said Pegasus did not even ask for tax breaks.
The only thing they have asked for is guidance, she said, reported the AP.