Microsoft behind Quarry Yards purchase

New owners would emphasize affordable housing at Westside site

Buyers affiliated with Microsoft are behind the $127 million purchase of the 70-acre Quarry Yards project in Atlanta’s Westside.

Three people with knowledge of the deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the West Coast tech giant was involved. Two said affordable housing will be part of the project, which could also include office space.

Hanna Williams, a Microsoft spokeswoman, said Thursday the company “has nothing to share.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the $47 billion charity started by Microsoft’s co-founder and his wife, is not part of the Quarry Yards project, the foundation said in a statement emailed Thursday. The foundation works on improving healthcare and fighting extreme poverty and has supported affordable-housing initiatives.

The 70 acres was put together by former Georgia Tech and Atlanta Braves baseball star Mark Teixeira and his partners. It was slated for a highly publicized mixed-use development in a low-income area that is drawing intense interest from developers. The land is at the convergence of three of Atlanta’s highly touted greenspace initiatives under development — Bellwood Quarry Park, the Beltline and the Proctor Creek Greenway — and within walking distance of the Bankhead MARTA station.

The area is beginning to gentrify, and residents raised concerns about being pushed out, which caused the City of Atlanta to put a moratorium on issuing construction permits earlier this year. The city wants to make sure affordable housing is included in the growth.

Teixeira’s company sold the land Sept. 1 for $127 million. Teixeira declined to identify the buyer, which was incorporated as West Atlanta Acquisitions LLC, according to legal documents. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week he was enthusiastic about the buyer, though he hasn’t seen the buyer’s plans. He predicted the new plan would incorporate as much or more affordable housing than his plan did.

Teixeira could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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Credit: Robert Dibrell

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Credit: Robert Dibrell

His partnership, Urban Creek Partners, had planned 1,700 residential units at Quarry Yards, including affordable homes and about 2 million square feet of offices and retail space.

William Rothschild, an attorney at Eversheds Sutherland who represented the buyer on the acquisition, declined to comment. Jonathan Eady, an attorney at Arnall Golden Gregory who incorporated West Atlanta Acquisitions on Nov. 6 also declined to comment.

Atlanta has had hits and misses in recruiting tech companies. Fintech company Deluxe said last week it will open a Sandy Springs office and add 700 jobs. And companies have flocked to Midtown to be near Georgia Tech. But Atlanta lost Amazon’s $5 billion East Coast headquarters to Northern Virginia and New York.

Quarry Yards is the latest of several Atlanta projects where Microsoft is a confirmed or rumored player. This spring it said it will open an office at a new Atlantic Station building, about three miles from Quarry Yards. Microsoft and the CDC Foundation this year contributed $1 million to the creation of a pandemic response center in Atlanta. Backers of a healthcare innovation district in Midtown have also courted Microsoft and the Gates Foundation.

Microsoft also recently provided Surface tablets to all newly enrolled students at Morehouse College.

Atlanta suffers from a severe lack of affordable housing, according to advocacy groups. The Westside Future Fund plans to accelerate this year the construction of affordable homes on the Westside, targeting vacant lots and blighted properties for rehabilitation.