Microsoft plans a multibillion-dollar overhaul of its Redmond headquarters

Microsoft plans upgrade for Redmond headquarters

Apple's Spaceship better look out, Microsoft is modernizing its HQ too

"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", writes Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, in a blog post. "Overall, Microsoft said, it will add "$150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces, sports fields and green space". Apple Inc. opened its sprawling new main campus in Cupertino, California, earlier this year, while now looking for a city to host a second headquarters projected to cost more than $5 billion.

Microsoft will replace 12 of its oldest one-office-per-person buildings and give a significant part of the campus a contemporary feel, allowing the company to expand the collaborative environment that it has been cultivating. The development also includes a huge open plaza measuring two acres, which will be able to fit 12,000 people.

It's unclear if Microsoft will actually add 8,000 new employees to its Redmond campus or use the expansion, in part, to consolidate some of its Puget Sound area employees in about 45 other buildings. Instead, the firm envisions the new campus as a place filled with open spaces and plenty of light. 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. Microsoft says it will help in the design of energy-smart buildings. Further, Smith told GeekWire that the company does not intend to offload any of its downtown Bellevue space or vacate the offices in Issaquah, where it recently renewed a big lease.

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All cars will go to an underground parking facility so that the campus remains open for bikes and pedestrians.

That new culture, which emphasizes collaboration among teams, has been a rallying cry for the company since CEO Satya Nadella took over the reins in February 2014. 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.

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