Today we’re excited to announce that Microsoft’s presence in Georgia is growing. We will complete our new office space in Atlantic Yards this year, and we’ll be adding even more space for our future. This includes plans for a new datacenter region with a presence in Douglas and Fulton counties, and the purchase of a 90-acre parcel of land to house a future campus at Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills. These are all significant investments and put Atlanta on the path toward becoming one of Microsoft’s largest hubs in the United States in the coming decade, after Puget Sound and Silicon Valley.
When we open the doors to our offices in Atlantic Yards this summer, we will be able to seat 2,500 employees across the region, including our sales locations in Alpharetta, Buckhead and Midtown. And this number will grow further as we scope and build out facilities in Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills.
We understand the impact that an investment of this size has on a city like Atlanta. It has huge potential, but if not done right, the downsides can outweigh this promise. That’s why we’re launching this expansion based on three principles and several concrete steps:
First, we will take a phased approach so we can listen to and learn from the community before we make decisions about our design for Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills.
Second, we will expand our presence with world-class environmental sustainability. We are committed to being a carbon negative, water positive, zero waste company by 2030. We will engrain these commitments into our designs in the region with a focus on zero carbon, renewable energy, minimal water, zero waste and resilient strategies and focusing on environmental justice and equity solutions.
Third, we will grow our presence and simultaneously create new opportunities for and reinvest in the community. We will make these decisions based on consultation with the community and with a focus on creating greater opportunity for more people in Atlanta to benefit from the expanding digital economy.
• This starts today, as we are committing to develop plans that will dedicate 25 percent of the 90 acres we have purchased at Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills for the construction of affordable and empowered housing and other local community services and needs.
• This will also include programs to enable people to develop digital skills. In part we’ll consider adding to Microsoft’s own skilling programs on artificial intelligence and our existing Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS), including for the Douglas cluster of Atlanta Public Schools. But we also know that strong non-profits in Atlanta have already created impressive skilling programs, and we recognize that some of our best investments may be to help these grow faster.
• We look forward to supporting Atlanta’s outstanding colleges and universities, including Georgia Tech, Georgia State and four of the nation’s most renowned historically Black colleges and universities – Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College.
• We want to help bring affordable broadband to more people in Atlanta, including through our national Airband Initiative.
• We want to help Atlanta’s diverse and critical non-profit organizations thrive with greater access to technology and funding. And we hope these groups will also benefit from the generosity of Microsoft’s growing employee population, each of whom can donate up to $15,000 a year to non-profits and gain a one-for-one match from Microsoft itself.
These are not small commitments (at least to us) and we take none of this lightly. But these are easy decisions to make, and for two very important reasons.
First, we deeply appreciate the opportunity to become a bigger part of everything Georgia has to offer. As a company, Microsoft has been in Atlanta since 2007. We’ve benefitted from Atlanta’s broad hospitality and the opportunity to become a part of one of the country’s great business communities. We’ve gotten to know the faculty and students at the local universities, including many who graduated and joined as employees to help us live our mission by engaging in the city’s uniquely rich culture of civic and community engagement. In short, we’ve learned that Atlanta is a great place to invest and grow.
Second, we have learned over the years that you can’t have a healthy company without a healthy community. We are excited to do our part to make Atlanta an even bigger and more successful community in the future.
We look forward to getting to know more people in Atlanta, and to having more people get to know us as well. We’re a lot like other successful companies, but in some ways we’re different too. Our biggest question today is not what Atlanta can do to support Microsoft. It’s what Microsoft can do to support Atlanta. And we know it will take a conversation with the entire community to find the answer.
We can’t wait to get started!