Microsoft on Thursday unveiled plans to acquire and build a green-roofed office complex in the heart of North Bayshore, making it the latest tech giant seeking a showpiece campus in Mountain View.
Microsoft carved out a home in North Bayshore nearly 15 years ago, long before Google, LinkedIn or many of the other vaunted tech firms moved into town.
As part of its plans, Microsoft intends to purchase its Pear Avenue facility and redevelop it into a state-of-the-art workplace. In a news release, the company touted a series of outdoor courtyards, fitness amenities and outdoor access that would be built into the new design.
Fully rebuilding the office campus is expected to take three years, Microsoft Vice President Qi Lu said in an email to employees.
"I'm excited to announce our plans to further invest in the success of the Silicon Valley region," Lu wrote. "Today's announcement marks the very beginning of a longer term process."
For their part, Mountain View city officials have already given Microsoft their blessing to expand its presence in town. Last year, the city allotted the company 128,000 square feet of office-space expansion in North Bayshore, and the new building plans are being tailored to fit within that scope.
Nevertheless, Microsoft's proposal will still face design hurdles similar to other ambitious projects being pitched in the crowded tech epicenter. The company will need to prove its growth won't exceed city thresholds for solo drivers or trip caps on local streets. Like other developments, the company will be required to join the local shuttle program and take other measures to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
However, Microsoft won't have to suddenly get into the housing game -- something Google and other tech developers are now being encouraged to do by city officials. Microsoft's site lies outside the area slotted for future residential growth in the North Bayshore area.
Describing the center as a strategic hub for research and development, Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus has helped spearhead projects including Xbox, Outlook.com, Skype and Yammer, according to company officials. While Microsoft is based out of Redmond, Wash., the company employs more than 2,000 workers in the Bay Area at offices in San Francisco, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.