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Grove Park residents say its been weeks of uncertainty after Microsoft paused 90-acre project

The campus was to be built on a 90-acre parcel in the Grove Park neighborhood on the Westside.

ATLANTA — It's been weeks since Microsoft announced their paused plans on development in the Grove Park, Collier Heights neighborhood. Many residents are concerned and are asking questions about what's next.

The project, which was announced in 2021, is expected to hold at least 15,000 employees. The campus was set to be a centerpiece of several Westside developments, but the project was halted in February of 2023.  

Several residents, including Latonya Gates, said that it has been a month of uncertainty as Microsoft has given them no updates. For Latonya Gates, the lack of communication is fueling fears about possible gentrification. 

"I feel like with gentrification taking over Atlanta and with Microsoft coming to Grove Park, the voice of the people who have been there have not been looked upon. They’re being displaced and its unfair,” she said. 

Microsoft said at the beginning of the project that it would address gentrification concerns in the neighborhood, but some residents have yet to hear from leaders.

"I don’t really have a problem with people moving in but respect the people who have been there – they have a voice. Listen to our voice," Latonya Gates said.

Microsoft stated earlier this month that it will not be selling the land and that it "intends to re-engage in planning efforts if expansion is warranted."

Although Gates feels the news of Microsoft's pause was unexpected, she senses it gives the company an opportunity to get it right.

Other residents, like Duwon Robinson, said they’ve yet to hear from Microsoft hitting a dead end. Robinson worries that expansion could come at the expense of residents here.

"I don’t’ know what Microsoft’s plans are but I do believe Microsoft is seeing the need of housing, no one is building affordable housing," Robinson said.

Anthony Gates, who works in Grove Park, said he noticed a shift in property values when Microsoft first announced the development project last year. He claimed he has seen property values increase since the company's announcement. 

"It sent property values up as far as equity in the neighborhood, which brought a lot of investors into the neighborhood,"  Anthony Gates said.

Mayor Dickens was shocked when he heard the news. He said It "caught us by surprise" at a press conference earlier this month. 

The mayor added his administration remains in talks with Microsoft about the proposed development and they have received no indication to this point that the project is outright canceled. 

"They have to figure out what is their workplace strategy, how large to build this facility here, how many employees will be in office, how many will be remote. I’ve encouraged them and downright told them that they must continue to do community engagement,” the mayor said. 

The Mayor's Office issued the following statement regarding the pause: 

"The Mayor called Microsoft leaders yesterday to express his concerns on the recent developments —particularly as they relate to commitments made of hiring Atlantans and the funding of a revitalization study for the Donald Lee Hollowell corridor. The 2021 announcement of the campus had economic consequences for the surrounding communities. This announcement of a delayed development creates uncertainties, and the Mayor wants to ensure that Microsoft fulfills the commitments it has made to our city."

11Alive has reached out to Microsoft for an update on the 90-acre project and its plans on when the pause will be lifted.

Microsoft first established itself in Atlanta in 2007, and recently opened its Atlantic Yards facility in Midtown.


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