Across the country are numerous large companies looking to make big differences in the communities they serve, and global tech giant Microsoft is part of that club. The company is making moves on its plans for a westside Atlanta campus, originally announced last February. Microsoft purchased 90 acres of land to construct the new campus, and on Thursday it announced the planning team that will get the ball rolling.
The company is acting on the first stage of its plan, to “listen to and learn from the community” ahead of making any final decisions about the designs for Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills. Its expansion plans will impact Grove Park, a community that’s undergone significant economic stress over the years and lacks a range of key resources for residents, like a bank or grocery store. Aware of concerns surrounding gentrification and the increase of home prices above where residents can afford them, Microsoft emphasized its plans to dedicate 25 percent of the land it purchased to building affordable housing.
“Our priority is positive, local impact. From the inclusive hiring of local vendors to jobs and affordable housing created for the region, sustainable building solutions and much more,” Michael Lawings, senior director of Americas Real Estate Operations for Microsoft, said in a statement. “We are excited at the opportunity ahead of us and look forward to playing a larger role in empowering the local community and growing with the city of Atlanta.”
Microsoft’s goal with its new campus is to generate a sustainable, positive impact and create new office space, public amenities and infrastructure. To do so, it’s working with Integral Group to consult on real estate impact projects while Jones Lang LaSalle leads project management. The tech giant is consulting with a range of additional names for considerations regarding sustainability, architecture and market research.
Another notable effort is Microsoft’s community advisory council composed of representatives from over a dozen local organizations that will be present throughout planning milestones. The list includes churches, neighborhood associations and nonprofits including Grove Park Community Church, Historic Howell Station Neighborhood Association and PAWKids.
The planning team and advisory council will work together to incorporate input from local residents on Microsoft’s site designs. The company is also hosting three open town hall events throughout the year for residents to keep them in the loop about campus plans and how their feedback has informed them. The first event is scheduled for June.
This latest project for Microsoft builds upon several other recent expansion plans in the Peach State. The company opened the doors of its Atlantic Yards campus last summer, a location that can accommodate 2,500 employees across locations in Alpharetta, Buckhead and Midtown. It also announced its East US 3 data center region that will span areas in both Fulton and Douglas counties.