Microsoft announces major expansion at Redmond campus

Posted November 30, 2017

The software giant will start a multi-year project next fall to create 18 new buildings, alongside new public spaces, transportation investments, and sports fields. Microsoft estimates the project could take up to seven years to complete and will involve the creation of roughly 2,500 construction and development jobs.

The campus remodel will be built for pedestrians and bikes with all cars in an underground parking facility. There would also be a community space for 8,000 to 12,000 people in an open-air plaza and outdoor areas for running and walking, green spaces and walking trails.

Steve Ballmer plunging into Lake Bill on the Microsoft campus in an undated
Steve Ballmer plunging into Lake Bill on the Microsoft campus in an undated

Microsoft says that its Redmond HQ has been its home for more than three decades and "crown jewel".

The growth plan marks a continued shift away from the car-dependent campus of the last 30 years, made possible by the 2023 arrival of a light rail line that will make travelling to and from the campus without a vehicle easier than ever. Microsoft writes, "And while we transform our workspace inside, we will renovate the exterior to create more opportunities to exercise, play and connect with nature for the people who work at Microsoft and those who live nearby". Microsoft's Redmond campus, which opened in 1986, now totals 15 million square feet in 125 buildings.

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In their place, and in the acres around them, 18 new buildings will rise, with flexible floor plans meant to foster collaboration, inspiration, and accessibility. But as its ongoing search for a second headquarters highlights in no uncertain terms, the space-constrained Puget Sound region has few large undeveloped areas appropriate for an expansion that would accommodate up to 50,000 workers-the number Amazon said it may someday employ at its HQ2.

"We've focused on the cultural transformation of the company".

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Buildings on the campus will be closer together than before and its focus is more on pedestrianising Microsoft's headquarters, rather than turning it into a sprawl navigable only by vehicle. "We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact", Microsoft President Brad Smith outlined in an article.

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