Microsoft's Washington HQ Is Getting a Multi-Billion Dollar Makeover

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Microsoft will replace 12 of its oldest one-office-per-person buildings and give a significant part of the campus a contemporary feel, allowing the company to expand the collaborative environment that it has been cultivating. The expansion will add enough room for 8,000 more people, and the construction itself will involve around 2,500 construction and development jobs over the course of the five to seven years it will take to complete.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said the new campus will be more open and less formal. All vehicle parking will go underground, and in its place will spring up sports fields, a tree-lined boulevard, and a two-acre open plaza that can hold up to 12,000 people for events. Our plans 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.

Big Tech companies are one-upping each other on the most generous parental- leave policies, the best projects to run - and the best locations and spaces to work. However, with the new buildings, the company plans to take a different approach.

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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.

While the redevelopment announced Tuesday will also feature underground parking and vehicle infrastructure, it will be built "with the automated vehicles of the near-future in mind", according to another Microsoft blog post on the project.

The renovation will see the iconic X-shaped buildings of Bill Gates' Microsoft era go. The campus will be divided into "team neighborhoods". Having been the bane of many Microsoft employee for their confusing corridors, it's unlikely they'll be missed. (Construction is expected to begin next fall.) Microsoft has some 47,000 employees in the region now. The bridge will also tie into a forthcoming Link Light Rail station set to arrive in 2023.