Microsoft may have Apple HQ jealousy as it commits to Redmond refresh

At a time when space is at a premium and many companies are looking for room to grow, we recognize that our 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington, is a unique asset. Set to start in earnest in fall 2018, the project will see 18 new buildings and 2.5 million square feet of new office space added to the campus. 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. However, the software giant is not developing a new campus altogether, rather it is planning a significant modernization of its Redmond headquarters, the company told employees on Tuesday, in a post. Microsoft has been at the campus for 30 years; it now has 125 buildings there. Under the plan, the company will tear down 12 of the buildings now used by employees and build 18 new facilities in their place that are expected to be up to twice as tall. The expansion will also include $150 million in transportation infrastructure updates, public spaces, sports fields, and a green space. The company says the expansion marks a commitment to their employees, the community, and the entire Puget Sound. The campus will be divided into "team neighborhoods".

The move by Microsoft stands in contrast to Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who created a frenzied bidding war with his plan to build a second North American headquarters in a yet undecided location.

For Nadella, a renovation like this is an opportunity to create a collaborative environment for work with a better balance of work and employee wellbeing. The campus will also be connected to WA-520 on both sides and it will tie into the future Redmond Technology Transit Station linking the campus to Link Light Rail in 2023.

Microsoft New Campus
A render of Microsoft's new

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

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.

  • Joey Payne