Microsoft opens Excellence Centre in Vancouver, BC

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft’s Redmond campus is expanding north, sort of. Today, Microsoft is opening a new engineering facility just three hours north of its Redmond, Washington headquarters in Vancouver, B.C.

Thanks to an interview given by Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith held to GeekWire, details of the new facility have been made available. According to GeekWire, the new home will be a consolidation effort by Microsoft to house its workforce scattered across the Vancouver landscape. Before today’s news, the companies roughly 568 employees worked in three different locations throughout Vancouver, but thanks to the construction of a new 142,000 square foot engineering facility, most of them will be able to share a single home.

Other details of the facility include the construction of two community rooms capable of housing 150 employees, a new open space designed to house experimental software and hardware projects (think HoloLens) called the Makers Garage as well as several other collaborative areas pocketed throughout.

Vancouver Excellence Centre collaborative space
Vancouver Excellence Centre collaborative space

Speaking with GeekWire, Smith explained the significance of the location as knitting together what I’d call a string of pearls on the West Coast of North America, but Washington state, with 44,000 employees and the company’s headquarters, remains the main hub.”

While many tech start-ups and businesses focus their attention towards Silicon Valley, Microsoft’s appears more content to spread itself and its employees across a wider surface area along the West Coast of North America with offices in San Francisco, Washington state and now Vancouver.

Microsoft also takes advantage of more lenient immigration laws in Canada, allowing workers in Vancouver to remain close to corporate headquarters while they await H1B visas.