Microsoft is reportedly considering a multi-billion dollar revamp of its world headquarters in Redmond, Washington. But while it's said to have already hired a firm to oversee the redesign of its campus, a decision on whether or not to proceed with the project has not yet been made.
According to Bloomberg Business, citing unnamed 'people with knowledge of the plans', Microsoft has recruited architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the firm that designed Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at just under 830m (2,722ft). The two companies already have a working relationship - the same firm is also working with Microsoft on a revamp of its facilities in Mountain View, California.
Microsoft's Redmond campus is much larger though, with around 80 buildings across 500 acres (202 hectares) of land. While a revamp of the campus might seem like a frivolous spend at first - particularly given the devastating layoffs at the company over the last year or so - there is a strategic side to this investment.
For a start, Microsoft is said to be keen to boost employee collaboration across its sprawling campus, and is planning to refurbish existing buildings with more open-plan workspaces, and other touches designed to improve the quality of the workplace. The company is also partly funding a pedestrian and bicycle path that will bridge the State Route 520 freeway that slices through its campus, making it easier for staff to get from one side to the other.
But Microsoft is also eager to make the most of its campus' location, just a few miles from Seattle, given that many of its rival companies are spending big money to relocate their offices closer to major cities. The changes to its headquarters are said to be partly motivated by a desire to attract more young engineers to join its workforce - indeed, it's even said to be considering campus housing to provide short-term accommodation for interns.
Neither company has yet confirmed the veracity of the report, although Microsoft did say in a statement: "We continually work on Microsoft campus plans to anticipate future needs."
If Microsoft does proceed with the plans outlined in the report, it sounds like the company may turn at least part of its campus into something of a 'destination' - featuring restaurants, retail stores and other amenities - while other areas could be developed with open air workspaces and parkland. And with a new light-rail stop - the 'Redmond Technology Center Station' - scheduled to open in 2023 - Microsoft's world headquarters may well prove to be a top destination for future generations of tech professionals.
Source: Bloomberg Business