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's decision to expand on the footprint of its campus in Redmond, Washington, its home since 1986, is in contrast to the highly-publicized office expansion plans of Seattle-based Amazon. Microsoft's Redmond campus, which opened in 1986, now totals 15 million square feet in 125 buildings.
Microsoft has already informed the employees about the plans, and on Wednesday, the company would discuss the plans at the shareholders meeting.
"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", Microsoft wrote in its announcement. The campus will be divided into "team neighborhoods", which I imagine turns every single day into a corporate retreat team-building exercise.
"The campus will be built for pedestrians and bikes with all cars moved to an underground parking facility", Smith notes.
After decades in which high-tech workplaces were defined by bland, low-slung office buildings, the largest tech companies have seized on the idea that their campus designs can be assets in terms of attracting talent in a highly competitive marketplace, as well as making a strong visual statement about the company's brand, culture and values.
A two-acre open air plaza will house running and walking trails, soccer and cricket fields, and retail space.
The construction of the new campus should require 2,500 construction and development jobs, and Smith explained that it should be a boon for the Puget Sound area. The bridge will also tie into a forthcoming Link Light Rail station set to arrive in 2023.
Microsoft announced the plans for expansion via the Microsoft blog. "As Microsoft continues to create the tools and services that are shaping the future of work, we can't think of a better time to modernize our campus into a model of ingenuity and innovation", explained Smith.