Microsoft plans to expand Redmond campus

Posted November 30, 2017

Once the project is completed, Microsoft's total Redmond footprint will consist of 131 buildings and the equivalent of 180 football fields of new and renovated space. The redevelopment and expansion announced Tuesday will add 2.2 million square feet and make room for up to 8,000 new employees when it is complete six to eight years from now. It looks like the firm will now take things just a step further by overhauling the look and feel of its campus.

"This is going to be an extremely intelligent campus, not because of devices but because of infrastructure", says Bill Lee, Microsoft's director of real estate, planning, and development, in the company's post. The days of an individual office for every employee seem to be ending as people gravitate toward communal spaces with high ceilings and colorful furniture.

One of the main highlight will be a two-acre plaza set to seat up to 12,000 people.

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 Corp. has embarked on yet another ambitious project, this time not in the public cloud or some other technology field but an altogether different area: real estate.

Microsoft did not put a price tag on the project, but no doubt it will run into the billions of dollars.

The work will be done about the same time that the Redmond light-rail station opens, scheduled for 2023. "We want to create a workspace that supports the culture we are creating", Smith said. Its plan is to build on existing ground and add capacity for an additional 8,000 staff members along with creating more open spaces in the process. Amazon has been looking at cities across North America for a spot to build a second headquarters that will be as big as its Seattle hub.

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The new additions will also be environmentally friendly.

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.

When Microsoft settled in to its headquarters in Redmond in 1986, its early buildings were built to emphasize personal working space and lots of windows.

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Microsoft headquarters was from its early days, and well into the 21st century, a campus for software engineers driving their roadsters to parking lots surrounding buildings full of individual offices.

Microsoft started renovating office spaces almost a decade ago and has already modernized several buildings in the open-format style. The campus will be divided into "team neighborhoods".

The company also secured a zoning change previous year that allows it to construct some buildings on the east side of its campus up to 10 stories tall, but it said it has no plans for that height now. Microsoft has been at the campus for 30 years; it now has 125 buildings there.

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