Microsoft announced a major renovation of its campus Tuesday that will transform its Redmond, Wash. headquarters into a mini city of sorts complete with public transportation, heightened buildings and designated public space.
The tech giant says the expansion of its 500-acre campus, which will break ground next fall, will take between five and seven years to complete and add 18 new buildings and $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements and public spaces totaling 6.7 million square feet of renovated space.
Among the improvements include a 2-acre open plaza with room for 12,000 people, hiking trails, sports fields, retail space and a pedestrian bridge crossing a bypassing freeway that will connect to a planned light rail station in 2023.
A notable element of the project is Microsoft’s plan to construct several underground parking garages with the intention of making the campus car-free and suitable for walking and cycling. Facilities will also emphasize natural light, open rooms and “team neighborhoods” to promote innovation, the company said.
Microsoft says the investment will involve approximately 2,500 construction jobs and will benefit the overall Puget Sound community, which includes the Washington cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and Everett.
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When complete, the company’s campus will boast 131 total buildings — up from 125 following the demolition of 12 current buildings — and hold room for up to 8,000 more people on top of the 47,000 that already work on the facility.
“We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post unveiling the expansion plans.