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Microsoft President Brad Smith said Thursday morning the company’s newly acquired 90 acres near the Bankhead MARTA station will be the site of a new company campus and affordable housing.
In an announcement featuring Smith and two other Microsoft executives along with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Smith said a quarter of the entire property, which Microsoft purchased in two separate batches in the last six months, will be dedicated to uses serving the area’s Grove Park neighborhood, including affordable housing and other needs like a grocery store or pharmacy.
“We’ll dedicate 25 percent of these 90 acres not to office buildings that are filled by people at Microsoft, but really to the community,” Smith said.
Much of the original site was meant to feature Quarry Yards, another mixed-use development, pursued but dropped by a development team led by former Atlanta Braves player Mark Teixeira and company Urban Creek Partners. That project called for about 1,700 residential units and 2 million square feet of office and retail space.
On Thursday, Smith said Microsoft wouldn’t be releasing plan specifics until the company conducts more community outreach.
“Normally, a company comes in, and they’ll build their office space. And they really forget about everybody else,” Michael Ford, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of global real estate and security, said during the announcement. “We’re going to reverse that. We’re going to focus on the community first.”
The company did announce that the campus would connect to the Atlanta BeltLine-adjacent Westside Park, the city’s largest planned greenspace. Currently under construction, the 280-acre park will connect to the Westside Trail Extension, the Westside BeltLine Connector, and Proctor Creek Greenway when complete.
Microsoft also outlined other elements on Thursday amounting to a major expansion in the city of Atlanta. Ford said the company’s Atlantic Yards project, a $75 million office project set to accommodate 2,500 workers, will open this summer.
The company is also on its way to creating a “data center region here in Atlanta,” Smith said. It has plans for two such projects: one in Douglasville and one in East Point, according to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reported Microsoft’s newly revealed plans Thursday morning before the announcement.
Along with plans near Grove Park and Atlantic Station, Microsoft currently has an office in Alpharetta and a downtown innovation center.