, a nearly forgotten ghost town 11 miles north of Helena, Mont., was borne overnight in the 1860s when early prospectors struck gold. The town, dormant for the past century, is on the verge of receiving an influx of global interest with the announcement of a newly approved plan to develop 10,000 acres into America’s first LEED-certified community through the United States Green Building Council. Once complete, the town will be the most sustainably-built, carbon-neutral community on a large scale in the United States, and the only comparable development to Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates.
Diamond City is the brainchild of developer and environmentalist Rob Rule who embraced the pioneering spirit of the original town and will lead the nation towards sustainable development during the 15- to 20-year build-out of the project. The town will be a one-of-a-kind walk-able community built from the rich history of the original Diamond City with late 19th-century aesthetics and charm, complemented with some of the most technologically- advanced sciences of the current century.
“Sustainable technologies have advanced so rapidly over the past few years that a project of this scale is realistic,” Rule says. “Diamond City will set the example on how to build attractive, well-planned communities with minimal impact on the environment. Our ambitious goal is achieve LEED Platinum
certification for the entire community.”
Development on the first of four Diamond City districts will start in 2010 with the construction of a master-planned 2,160-acre community with more than 1,700 single and multifamily residences; and 650,000 square feet of retail space.
Future districts include the development of 400,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities. Diamond City’s intent is to become the first manufacturing district in the United States to have all buildings meet or exceed Platinum ratings through LEED Certifications in addition to having all products manufactured in Diamond City meet Green ratings, including LEED.
One of developer’s primary objectives for Diamond City is to create a carbon-neutral community that completely relies on renewable energy resources that contribute back to the region’s grid, and self-contained waste management systems. All energy for the community will be generated on-site through renewable resources, including planned solar, wind, geothermal, energy cell, and water wheels that emit no carbon back into the atmosphere.
In addition, the town’s waste treatment operations will collect sewage in a membrane bioreactor plant. The effluent will be fully treated and taken through reverse osmosis to be used for geothermal heating for every home, and to fill creeks and lakes designed into the landscaping, which will be used again for hydro electricity, water wheels, and ultimately the irrigation for golf courses and parks. To complete the cycle, solid remnants will be burned to help produce 200% of Diamond City’s electricity needs.
“Our precedent is to demonstrate that a community can become 100% independent and rely solely on its own natural resources,” Rule says. “We will use every resource such as water for multiple purposes while purifying the air and increasing the neighboring aquifer. We are even currently exploring new technology for cooking fuel such as Catalytic Hydrothermal Gasification of Wet Biomass Feedstocks from the algae that we grow.”
Diamond City will appeal to the recreational interests of residents and visitors on a global scale, according to Rule, who is working with Populous to design the world’s most advanced equestrian center. The facilities will feature a veterinary and equine prosthetics and rehabilitation facility operated by world-renowned veterinarian Ted Vlahos, a 10,000-seat regional entertainment venue, along with polo, rodeo, jumping and dressage training and competition facilities. Bjorn Ikast of IKAST Showjumping has committed to coordinating an annual international horse show and grand prix event that will draw a significant international audience to Diamond City.
“Montana’s history is steeped in horse culture,” Rule says. “The equestrian services and venues of Diamond City are designed to further position the region as a center for research, training, competition and entertainment whether it’s a dressage show or a concert performance by a major artist.”
As part of its commitment to drawing energy from renewable resources and solidifying its carbon-neutral status, methane gas from processed horse manure and stable waste will be captured to generate power that can be stored and distributed through energy cells.
Diamond City will be equally attractive to golfers with the development of to two new world class PGA-level 18-hole courses which are anticipated to be Arnold Palmer courses to be constructed by Wadsworth Golf Construction Company. Residents who ride horses, hike and bike have quick access to trails that reach hundreds of thousands of acres of Private Lands, National Forests, Wildernesses, and State lands right out their back doors.