Tallahassee Journal

Microsoft expands in Google’s backyard

Microsoft expands in Google’s backyard

Microsoft is putting down roots in Silicon Valley. The Redmond, Wash-based tech giant has announced that it will be purchasing and expanding real estate that it has been leasing for the past 15 years in Google’s Mountain View backyard. The build-out will add 25% more space to the existing 515,000-square-foot office park. The plan is to significantly redesign the five-building facility, which should be able to accommodate an additional 500 to 1,000 employees. Microsoft currently has around 2,000 working out of a variety of Bay Area locations, where it has had a presence since 1981. Microsoft’s area teams work on projects that include Xbox, Outlook, Skype and Yammer.Microsoft-Building

An artist’s rendering of the new campus released by the company shows a leafy compound complete with an expansive central courtyard and at least one living roof. The entire complex will take up 6.2 acres, and will be designed by architects from WRNS Studio in San Francisco, whose website features modernist designs for Airbnb’s headquarters and an Adobe campus in Utah. “Microsoft is acquiring the Mountain View Silicon Valley Campus to build a state-of-the-art facility and create an exceptional place to work, ” executive vice president Qi Lu wrote in an email to employees Thursday. “Sustainability, collaboration, and health and wellness are at the center of the design, incorporating features such as team courtyards, easy access to the outdoors, an onsite gym, and (eco-friendly) LEED Platinum certification.”

The company still has go through Mountain View’s permitting process, and construction isn’t likely to begin before 2017 and will take three years to complete, says Microsoft spokesperson Emily Horn. She adds that at present “it is too early to make any calls on employees shifting locations (and) per Qi’s email, there isn’t any immediate impact to teams in the Bay Area.” It’s hard not to read a significant amount of symbolism into Microsoft’s real estate news.

In the fall of 2014, the company laid off 160 Bay Area-based employees as part of larger cuts to its workforce related the company’s broader restructuring. But guided by CEO Satya Nadella, who took the reins in February 2014, Microsoft has made a remarkable turnaround from its reclusive roots as a software sales giant toward being a mobile- and cloud-first company that has embraced partnerships with Silicon Valley companies such as Box and Salesforce.