Microsoft plans multibillion-dollar campus overhaul


SEATTLE • While one giant Seattle area company looks for a second headquarters, another is doubling down on its current location.

Microsoft Corp plans a multibillion-dollar overhaul of its main campus in Redmond, Washington, adding space for 8,000 more workers and creating areas for collaboration and recreation as the company tries to keep up with growth in hiring and trends toward more open office spaces.

The five to seven year plan will knock down 12 low-rise buildings at the heart of the company’s original headquarters and replace them with 18 new buildings, many of them double the height, president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said in an interview. With the added square footage, the campus’ space will be the equivalent of 180 football fields.

CEO Satya Nadella has been trying to shake up work culture at the world’s largest software maker, turning it into a more open and collaborative environment with fewer employees sequestered in closed door offices. The new design also features a community space for 8,000 to 12,000 people in an open-air plaza and outdoor areas including running and walking trails, sports facilities and green spaces. The company has about 47,000 workers in Washington state.

“We’ve focused on the cultural transformation of the company. We want to create a workspace that supports the culture we are creating,” Smith said. “A workspace that encourages people to be creative, to work with each other and to learn from each other.”