Microsoft plans major 'Redmond Campus of the Future' expansion

Microsoft plans upgrade for Redmond headquarters

Along with the new buildings and public spaces, Microsoft's new campus is created to have running and walking trails and an open-air plaza capable of holding 8,000 to 12,000 people.

Microsoft Corp. now employs about 47,000 people in 125 buildings in Washington's Puget Sound region.

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.

Considering that Apple recently opened its new Apple Park campus and Amazon is looking for a second headquarters, Microsoft's expansion plans are not exactly surprising.

Microsoft says the new campus will be "built for pedestrians and bikes" with auto parking moved underground.

Urban campuses in the heart of bustling cities may be all the rage for tech companies these days, but Microsoft thinks it can create some of that modern city vibe without leaving its forested suburban campus. The plans will include a 2-acre open plaza that will fit up to 12,000 people, running and walking trails, facilities for soccer and cricket, and retail space.

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That transportation emphasis is perhaps the biggest difference from the expansion plan a decade ago. Instead, the firm envisions the new campus as a place filled with open spaces and plenty of light.

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's modern campus overhaul isn't as futuristic as the Apple Park, but the company says it's a major step forward for its culture, substantially expanding its headquarters with modern workplaces and creating 2,500 construction and development jobs in the area. The multiyear project is Microsoft's largest redevelopment to date, it said. This bridge will also connect to the upcoming Redmond Technology Transit Station, which will welcome Link Light Rail in 2023.

The renovation will see the iconic X-shaped buildings of Bill Gates' Microsoft era go. Microsoft says it will help in the design of energy-smart buildings.

Work on the campus overhaul will begin in fall 2018 and is expected to last up to seven years.

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