Microsoft is putting the technology unit in Midtown, where it will focus on artificial intelligence and cloud services. The office is expected to open in the summer of 2021. The company (NASDAQ: MSFT) will occupy space in the 523,000-square-foot Atlantic Yards, two office towers under development within Midtown’s Atlantic Station.
Microsoft’s expansion has been discussed in economic development and real estate circles since last October, and Atlantic Station was the front-runner to land the project, Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant appeared to be ramping up for something major in Atlanta last year when it took all of the WeWork co-working space at Midtown’s 881 Peachtree.
Microsoft has also been using space at the Coda building in Midtown’s Technology Square, where it operates a cloud computing engineering center. Microsoft also maintains offices in Alpharetta and Buckhead.
In a statement, Terrell Cox, general manager with Microsoft, said “Atlanta has a rich culture and history of innovation, making it a unique place for tech growth.”
Microsoft is the second West Coast technology giant recently expanding in Midtown. Google announced last October it would initially take five floors at 1105 West Peachtree, a swanky new mixed-use project rising on West Peachtree Street. In the past month, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Google may be engaged in a much larger expansion at that project.
In February, Macy’s Inc. also confirmed it will open a $14 million technology hub in Midtown that will employ 630.
The companies are drawn by the pull of Georgia Tech, one of the country’s top engineering schools.
A hint that a major expansion was looming in Midtown came during a May 1 earnings call with Cousins Properties Inc. CEO Colin Connolly, who said up to 80% of approximately 4 million square feet of new office space in Midtown may already be pre-leased. Tech companies were spurring the activity, he said.
“Midtown has been an exceptionally dynamic market in Atlanta, and that’s primarily driven by the technology community and adjacency to Georgia Tech,” Connolly said.
The addition of several thousand new technology jobs to Midtown helps lessen the sting of Atlanta missing out two years ago on Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2, the largest-ever headquarters contest. Another big division went to Nashville. However, Amazon is rapidly expanding its e-commerce and distribution center network across north Georgia, adding several million square feet since the end of last year.