Construction of the buildings started before the COVID-19 pandemic, and Microsoft’s plans to expand at Atlantic Yards was announced as much of the country entered lockdown in March 2020. The buildings were sold by global real estate firm Hines, which landed Microsoft as the project’s tenant, and real estate management firm Invesco.
“Hines’ investment thesis for Atlantic Yards was proven when Microsoft committed to the entire Atlantic Yards project on a long-term lease in spring 2020, during the height of the pandemic,” Tori Kerr, managing director at Hines, said in the release.
Microsoft expects to house up to 2,000 employees in the buildings, and focus on artificial intelligence and cloud services, the release said.
First reported by online real estate publication CoStar, the sale could be a record high price per square foot for metro Atlanta office transactions. Eastdil Secured, which brokered the deal, previously said the buildings could sell for $497 million, or $950 per square foot.
The Development Authority of Fulton County issued a tax abatement for the project before the pandemic based on a $205 million project investment. The authority at the time did not release an estimated value of the tax incentive, but an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis valued it at more than $9 million.
The abatement was one of more than 80 projects granted tax breaks by DAFC from 2018 to mid-2021 that the AJC found were overwhelmingly concentrated in fast-growing areas where market conditions were extremely favorable or came with few public benefits.
Critics said DAFC’s tax breaks in popular areas raised questions about the need for taxpayer subsidies.
Microsoft, which has been active in metro Atlanta over the past few years, still plans to build a new campus on Atlanta’s Westside. The company bought the 90-acre Quarry Yards property near the Bankhead MARTA station for roughly $150 million, and it is expected to create thousands of jobs.