Microsoft announces huge expansion to ‘modernize’ its Redmond HQ

Microsoft has announced a massive expansion plan aimed at modernizing its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Unlike fellow Washington-based tech giant Amazon, which is seeking a second HQ in a new location, Microsoft is building on existing ground in order to “grow right here at home.” Its current Redmond Campus includes 125 buildings that house a workforce of around 48,000, but its expansion will add capacity for an additional 8,000 staff and introduce more scenic elements to the site.

“Next fall, we will break ground on a multi-year campus refresh project that will include 18 new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of renovated workspace, $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces, sports fields and green space,” the company said.

The work, which is scheduled to take five to seven years and will reportedly cost billions, will see 12 buildings knocked down and replaced with larger structures in addition to new ones.

Beyond catering for its own, Microsoft said the campus will have facilities for its neighbors. That will include a two-acre ‘open plaza’ that includes sports facilities, retail space and running and walking trails. The facility could hold up to 12,000, Microsoft said.

To address commuters, Microsoft is moving all car parking underground, and it said it will create pedestrian and cycle bridges that connect its campus to the nearby Redmond Technology Center light rail station which is slated for 2023.

“Microsoft is committed to remaining a good neighbor and ensuring that our operations are run in a sustainable way. We prize our relationship with the City of Redmond and will work closely with officials on the approval for campus and building architectural designs, engineering, building permit review and land use code compliance,” the company said in a statement.