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Microsoft announces campus expansion plan

Microsoft Corp. plans to spend about $1 billion over the next three years on a headquarters expansion that will house about 12,000 workers.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Microsoft Corp. plans to spend about $1 billion over the next three years on a headquarters expansion that will house about 12,000 workers.

The company said Thursday that the plans, which call for increasing Microsoft’s sprawling suburban campus by about one-third, will accommodate both new and existing employees.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

Microsoft, which employed about 30,000 people in the Seattle area as of Sept. 30, plans to add another 4,000 to 5,000 workers in the current fiscal year ending in June. Worldwide, its work force totaled more than 63,000 as of Sept. 30.

The Redmond-based software behemoth, which also is expanding overseas, said the plans call for bulking up its hometown campus more rapidly than previously anticipated. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s top lawyer, said that’s evidence of the company’s commitment to its U.S. headquarters and its long-term technology goals.

“In the software industry, things move quickly,” Smith said in a statement.

The expansion will include seven new buildings, seven purchased buildings and some leased space. In total, it will account for about half of the development agreement that the city of Redmond approved in May, which outlined Microsoft’s development plans for the next 15 to 20 years.

Microsoft also is spending $35 million over the next three to five years to help improve streets, sewers and other infrastructure, and to add an overpass over a busy thoroughfare between Seattle and its eastern suburbs. The improvements will aim to ease the congestion spurred by Microsoft’s growing campus.

Microsoft has been gathering up land and real estate in the area over the past few years. Last month, it agreed to pay $210 million for most of the Redmond office campus of the insurance company Safeco Corp.

The company also has continued to bulk up its international presence. In December, the company said it planned to nearly double its work force in India over the next four years, investing $1.7 billion and adding 3,000 jobs.

And in January, the company announced adLab, a joint effort to develop Internet advertising technology by Microsoft workers in Redmond and China.