Microsoft is preparing for the biggest campus renovation project it has undertaken in years, but the tech giant is also committing significant resources toward updating other buildings throughout its Redmond, Wash. headquarters.
PREVIOUSLY: Microsoft employees say goodbye to original buildings as massive campus refresh rolls on
An analysis of construction permits filed with the city of Redmond in the last year by BuildZoom turned up a total value of close to $170 million for improvements to several buildings around campus. Permits show the biggest renovation projects are at five facilities, including one of the buildings to be demolished: 40, 113, 115, 122 and 3.
Building permit values don’t always convey the complete picture of project costs, and this report may not capture the full scope of Microsoft’s redevelopment work. And the major refresh that will see the demise of the iconic “X-Wing” buildings could have thrown a wrench into plans for other projects on campus.
Microsoft’s Redmond campus has been in a near-constant state of change since it opened in 1986. But, in recent years, Microsoft has been steadily upgrading buildings, transitioning from layouts with a lot of individual offices to focus on more open floor plans and collaborative spaces.
BuildZoom’s takeaway was that “The roughly $170 million in upgrades to existing buildings in the last year alone suggest that Microsoft is aiming for a broader modernization of all facilities in the Redmond area. And unlike Amazon’s plan to find a completely new city for their second headquarter, Microsoft’s massive investment in Redmond firmly establishes their intentions to continue to grow in their home city.”
Between these individual building upgrades and the old campus refresh, the next couple years will be among the busiest for development on campus. Microsoft plans to knock down a dozen iconic original buildings and replace them with 18 new structures that will make room for 8,000 additional workers. In July, the company said work would begin later this year, and the new buildings would be ready by 2022.
The 18 new four- and five-story buildings will total approximately 3 million square feet sitting on 72 acres. The original two-story buildings set for demolition — which include Buildings 1 through 6 and 8 through 10, among others — total about 1.2 million square feet. That results in a net addition of about 1.8 million square feet. Microsoft’s missing Building 7 is the stuff of legend.
At least one nod to Microsoft’s past will remain in the new HQ project. The “Lake Bill” pond on the original campus, famous among veteran Microsofties, is staying. Gates’ corner office in Building 4 overlooked the lake, where executives were known to take dunks to settle bets and reward sales milestones.