ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A scientific ghost town in the heart of southeastern New Mexico oil and gas country will hum with the latest next-generation technology — but no people.
A $1 billion city without residents will be developed in Lea County near Hobbs, officials said Tuesday, to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets.
Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said the unique research facility that looks like an empty city will be a key for diversifying the economy of the nearby community, which after the oil bust of the 1980s saw bumper stickers asking the last person to leave to turn out the lights.
“It brings so many great opportunities and puts us on a world stage,” Cobb told The Associated Press before the announcement.
Pegasus Holdings and its New Mexico subsidiary, CITE Development, said Hobbs and Lea County beat out Las Cruces, for the Center for Innovation, Technology and Testing.
The CITE project is being billed as a first-of-its kind smart city, or ghost town of sorts, that will be developed on about 15 square miles west of Hobbs.