Microsoft buying 90 acres of land around Bellwood Quarry to build new campus, data centers

ATLANTA — A huge announcement was made by Microsoft on Thursday that will impact not only the whole state of Georgia, but particularly the west side of Atlanta.

The tech giant bought 90 acres of land in the Bellwood Quarry area to develop a new campus.

Quarry Yards is located in a rapidly developing area near the Atlanta Beltline path -- a new 280-acre westside park and the Bankhead MARTA rail station.

The project also includes three new data centers.

“We’re not here to ask what Atlanta can do for Microsoft. Today is all about a different question: What can we at Microsoft do to help everyone in Atlanta?” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft.

Smith joined Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Thursday to announce the tech giant bought the land to not only create the Microsoft campus, but housing, offices and shops as well.

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“Normally a company comes in and they build their office space and kind of forget about everybody else... we’re going to reverse that. We’re going to focus on the community first,” said Michael Ford, Microsoft corporate vice president for global real estate and facilities.

That was a top priority for Kemp and Bottoms who have been involved with talks with Microsoft about this investment for months.

“What we talked about in November was making sure that this community, the west side, would not be left behind in the progress of Atlanta,” Bottoms said.

Microsoft said it’s focused on adding value to the community, specifically as it relates to education and skills training.

“One of the things we’re really interested in pursuing is the opportunity to bring more and faster internet to different parts of Atlanta,” Smith said.

Microsoft says expanding operations in Atlanta was a no brainer.

“When you look at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, CAU, Morehouse, Spelman -- Wow! When you look at affordability and a place to be, Wow! Diversity. These are all things that companies look at,” said Fred Humphries, Microsoft corporate vice president of US government affairs.

The governor said the campus will outlive his tenure and that’s something he’s proud of.

Microsoft says it will set aside 25% of the area for affordable housing and is focused on investing in STEM education in this area.

The company said it also wants to build a talent pipeline centered around the HBCUs in our area.