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Grove Park Neighborhood Association Discusses Concerns, Expectations For Microsoft Expansion

Credit Thibault Camus / Associated PRess file

Microsoft President Brad Smith says the tech giant will increase its investments in metro Atlanta. Smith said last Thursday that includes plans for new data centers in Douglas and Fulton counties, and a new office space in Atlantic Yards.

Microsoft will also turn 90 acres in Atlanta’s Grove Park neighborhood into a zero-waste, sustainable campus. But given a history of people displaced from the historic neighborhood from other developments, like Mercedes-Benz Stadium,  legacy residents in the area have their concerns.

City officials like Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tell the community that the development will not leave the Westside behind — and the company has promised community benefits, like dedicating a fourth of those acres in Grove Park to affordable housing and other services, including grocery stores and mentorship programs. Microsoft expects the expansion will bring in thousands of jobs, including in construction.

Brandon Pierre-Thomas is the elected president of the Grove Park Neighborhood Association. He told WABE’s “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress that the relationship between Microsoft and the community doesn’t have to be adversarial. Yet, Pierre-Thomas also described a “cloak of secrecy” prior to the announcement.

Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.