Microsoft eyes huge new office building near its headquarters campus

(Esterra Park Rendering)

Microsoft has set its sights on a huge new office in its hometown of Redmond, Wash., according to a new report, in a sign that the tech giant’s appetite for growth extends beyond the massive redevelopment of its headquarters campus.

A quarterly report from real estate firm Broderick Group notes that Microsoft has a “lease pending” for the office building at Esterra Park, a 245,000-square-foot structure that is part of a larger complex near a future light rail station. The building is just a few blocks from Microsoft’s campus and surrounded by apartments and a big park, making it an interesting fit for the tech giant.

Microsoft declined to comment on the report.

In addition to the pending lease at Esterra Park, the Broderick Group report notes that Microsoft inked a lease for 34,430 square feet at the Redmond East Business Center. Taken together, these deals show that, despite Microsoft’s plan to add 8,000 seats to its campus over the next few years, the company is looking for additional outlets for growth.

Microsoft is one of several tech giants in the midst of significant real estate expansion in the cities east of Seattle. Cloud rival Amazon has amassed close to 3 million square feet of current and future office space in downtown Bellevue.

Construction is ongoing at The Spring District, where Facebook has leased several office buildings. (Photo courtesy of Wright Runstad Company)

The biggest lease of the fourth quarter on the Eastside, per Broderick Group, was Facebook’s deal for a new 325,000-square-foot building in the new Spring District complex in Bellevue. Another report, from brokerage Colliers International said Facebook leased 81,000 square feet in a building in Redmond, where it is building out a huge campus for its virtual reality unit just down the road from Microsoft HQ.

Microsoft began knocking down old buildings as part of its major campus refresh a year ago and will complete the new ones in 2022 and 2023. That’s right around the time Sound Transit plans to complete the extension of light rail from downtown Seattle to Redmond, including a station that will drop thousands of people off at Microsoft’s campus every morning.

The company plans to build 17 new four- and five-story buildings that will total approximately 3 million square feet. The original two-story buildings set for demolition — which include Buildings 1 through 6 and 8 through 10, among others — total about 1 million square feet. (Microsoft’s missing Building 7 is the stuff of legend.) That results in a net addition of about 2 million square feet and room for an additional 8,000 employees.

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