Microsoft Stays Home, Plans Remodel to Urbanize Headquarters Campus

Microsoft Stays Home, Plans Remodel to Urbanize Headquarters Campus

Microsoft Stays Home, Plans Remodel to Urbanize Headquarters Campus

Microsoft's decision to expand on the footprint of its campus in Redmond, Washington, its home since 1986, is in contrast to the highly-publicized office expansion plans of Seattle-based Amazon.

Microsoft plans to break ground on the expansion project next fall and the 18 new buildings will include 6.7 million square feet of renovated workspaces.

Once complete, the campus will have 131 buildings, compared with today's 125 buildings, and will offer workspace for the 47,000 employees who now work there, plus room for an additional 8,000 people.

Microsoft New Campus
A render of Microsoft's new

The five-to seven-year plan will knock down 12 low-rise buildings at the heart of the company's original headquarters and replace them with 18 new buildings, many of them double the height, President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in an interview. All auto parking will go underground, and in its place will spring up sports fields, a tree-lined boulevard, and a two-acre open plaza that can hold up to 12,000 people for events.

Artist's rendering of Microsoft's new headquarters. The campus will be divided into "team neighborhoods". The layout of those buildings is so confusing that employees used to joke that finding an office was an intelligence test to see if you were fit to work at Microsoft. A redesign and expansion a decade ago began to change that, with an emphasis on open floor plans and flexible, collaborative spaces, but the auto was still king-as evidenced by a 5,000-spot underground parking garage that underpinned the company's last big expansion, begun a decade ago. It expects the project will create 2,500 construction and development jobs. Vehicle parks that sat adjacent buildings will be moved underground to provide more space for buildings and recreational ground. That would enable Microsoft to raise the headcount at Redmond to a staggering 55,000 employees. It will all connect seamlessly with the Redmond Technology Transit Station, which will ferry passengers by light rail to downtown Bellevue and Seattle.

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