Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus to get greener, more modern

Kip Kniskern

Microsoft Campus

Microsoft is known for it’s Redmond, Washington roots, so much so that it’s often called “the Redmond company”, or even “Redmond”. However Microsoft does maintain campuses around the world, including one in Silicon Valley, specifically in Mountain View, California. Microsoft has leased space in Mountain View’s North Bayshore area for the last 15 years, but now it’s planning to not only purchase the 515,000 square foot facility, but make some significant upgrades.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Microsoft Executive Vice President Qi Lu recently emailed employees announcing the changes:

“Today, I am excited to announce our plan to further invest in the success of the Silicon Valley region. Microsoft is acquiring the Mountain View Silicon Valley Campus to build a state-of-the-art facility and create an exceptional place to work.”

The Mountain View campus houses teams from Xbox,, Skype, and Yammer. Construction won’t begin on the changes, many to make the campus greener by building a new garage and then turning much of the surface parking at the facility to newly restored habitat along Stevens Creek. SVBJ describes some of the work to be done:

Microsoft would demolish and replace two of the five existing buildings, and part of a third, generally filling in the project while keeping some of the original bones. The buildings will feature a “network of interior courtyards, filling the center of the campus with useful outdoor spaces,” according to a project description. “These courtyards will punctuate a large, occupiable living roof that connects workplace to nature and the larger regional landscape of Stevens Creek.” A new “technology center” will be constructed on the corner of Macon Street and La Avenida Street “to create a new outward presence for the campus and the community generally,” it states. The expansion would accommodate another 500 workers, and the whole thing is being designed to meet strict LEED Platinum energy efficiency standards.

The work would not begin until after permitting processes have been completed sometime in early 2017, and would take “at least three years to complete” according to the Qi Lu memo.

It’s also not clear when Microsoft will complete acquisition of the property, which it currently leases from real estate entrepreneur Carl Berg. Microsoft took out an option to purchase the campus in December of 2014, which is in effect until 2022.

As Microsoft competes for the best in engineering and software development talent with Google and Apple (and even Bay area startups), it’s becoming more important to offer the best amenities in the workplace, and with Apple’s “spaceship campus” well underway, keeping up with the Silicon Valley neighbors becomes especially critical.