What’s the deal with the house in front of Microsoft’s RedWest campus?

What's the deal with the house in front of Microsoft's RedWest campus?

Here is my understanding. It may be incomplete or even flat-out wrong.

The house belongs to a couple who was unwilling to sell their property when Microsoft's real estate people were buying up the land on which to build the RedWest campus. (I'm told it was originally a chicken farm.) Eventually, a deal was struck: The couple would sell the property to Microsoft but retain the right to live there until the end of their natural lives. Furthermore, Microsoft would assume responsibility for maintaining the lawn and landscaping.

When Microsoft needed to build an underground parking garage beneath their property, the house was put on a truck, carried across the street, where it rested for the duration of the construction, after which it was returned to its original location. I imagine the couple was put up in a very nice hotel for the duration of the construction. (Heck, maybe they got a nice kitchen remodel out of the deal, who knows?)

And while I'm spreading rumors about the Microsoft RedWest campus, here's another one: If you pay a visit to the campus, you will find a nature trail that leads through the wetlands that adjoin the campus. I was told that the wetlands preservation area was part of the environmental impact mitigation plan that was necessary to obtain approval for the construction. The students at the nearby school will occasionally take field trips there.

(I'm going to cover lighter issues for a while just to take a break from the network interoperability topic that has raged for over a week now.)

Comments (23)
  1. On the topic of Redwest rumors, in an intern tech talk, there was mention of a tunnel connecting Redwest to main campus. However, given the context of its mention, I am pretty sure it was a joke.

  2. 8 says:

    Wow, Windows Live Local is awesome! The picture is very clear and it shows on the whole page :) And zooming is really fast and uses the scroll wheel! Fantastic!

    If you move a bit to the right you see two roads leading to a small parking area. To the left of those roads there is a small field. Is that where they took this picture: http://midori.shacknet.nu/PissOnMicrosoft.jpg ?

    Also I’ve found this building, with colourful yard: http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=37.422209~-122.084409&style=a&lvl=19&scene=3688593

    So, ontopic… What’s MS gonna do when the couple eventually pass away? Is the house gonna be deconstructed/destroyed? Remember to put the link to the wmv on your blog ;) (it would be sad though)

  3. Claw says:


    Actually that’s the wrong one… the one the guy was pissing on is this one:



  4. CK says:

    I saw some documentary on cable tv where by they are talking about the dangers of Mt. Rainier and it’s impact on the whole state of Washington.  Is Redmond near Mt. Rainier?  If so are you and other Microsofties scare of possible future disasters?

  5. David Dunham says:

    What’s the deal with Windows Live Local? Am I supposed to be actually running Windows, instead of browsing the platform-independent Web, to see it?

  6. If you have a question for the live.com team, ask them http://spaces.msn.com/livecom/ – posting the question here accomplishes nothing.

  7. Archangel says:

    David: No, you don’t have to be running Windows, it works quite nicely in Firefox on Linux.

    I hadn’t seen it before, but it’s quite neat. The resolution’s better than any of the previous ones I’ve seen.

    I find it a bit ironic (but not totally surprising) that I can use a Microsoft product on here but not Google Earth :-)

  8. 8 says:

    Claw: Thanks, I was 1 screen too high -_-‘

  9. Peter says:


    IIRC, there are no direct problems with Mt. Rainier — lava doesn’t flow that far!  More critically, an eruption would shut down SeaTac airport, possibly for quite some time — the dust from eruptions causes lots of problems for jets.  Interestingly, the worst problems from Mt. Rainier (again, IIRC) is that an eruption would melt all of the glaciers, which then turn into high-speed mud, sweeping away everything and everyone in their way.  These haven’t reached Redmond in the past.

    I’m not a geologist; everything here is just becaues I live in Redmond, too.

  10. Michael Sartain says:

    I was in RedWest A when they moved the house. They hit the curb and the chimney collapsed off the other side. Everything stopped as they raced around the house trying to figure out what happened. Great stuff.

  11. Jack says:

    There were originally two houses, one where the parking garage is, and the other that’s still there. The one that was moved sat next to the entrance for a loooong time because they couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Eventually, someone took it and put it on some land further north on 148th Ave (on the right side of the street). They cut down a bunch of trees to put it on the new lot, which caused a big stink in Redmond because the permits weren’t in perfect order or something. There was a writeup in the Eastside Journal several years ago.

    It was a chicken farm originally.

  12. Mihai says:

    "Microsoft would assume responsibility for maintaining the lawn and landscaping."

    Imagine a discution: "I don’t need a gardner. Bill Gates takes care of my lawn." :-)

  13. Norman Diamond says:

    the house was put on a truck, carried across

    > the street, where it rested for the duration

    > of the construction, after which it was

    > returned to its original location.

    Now remember that.  Round-tripping is SLOW.

    > just to take a break from the network

    > interoperability topic

    You’d think you could do that at the end of your natural life, but with your luck there’ll still be a robot pushing out postings for you at 7 a.m. each day.

  14. Kimberly Sacha says:

    At the bottom of this page there’s a picture of Gabe Morelli with his house on Microsoft’s Campus:


    This page also has an MP3 which I believe has the interview I heard on NPR with him last year.  Presumably this is the same person you’re referring to.  If I remember correctly, he confirmed that story, although he didn’t mention moving the house for the parking garage.  All he wanted was to die in the house that was home to him.  Beautiful really.

    – Kim

  15. Ryan says:

    IIRC the hole correctly, the house is actually over the garage.

    "Oooh, I found Sh*thenge"

    Though shall not make fun of the expensive wooden hot-tubs. It angers the art-by-the-pound crowd.

    And Redmond is far outside of the "Low-probability, high-consequence events" area.


  16. CK says:


    I think my geography is off the mark ;)

  17. Raymond, I’ve always heard the story the same way, with a slight twist.  I heard that the family in question was given a round-the-world vacation to spend much of the time that the house was relocated.  I don’t have any factual knowledge one way or another, but it would be a lot better than spending the entire time at a hotel or other temporary location.

    It would have been easy for Microsoft to just increase the purchase price of the property until the family would have been stupid not to sell.  Instead of just building a large series of corporate buildings around a quaint home separated by a chain-link fence, there are large berms and shrubbery that make the transition from lawn to corporate campus as natural as possible.

    In short, there were many wrong ways to handle this, and the family and Microsoft figured out the right way.

    Thanks for posting it.  Now maybe a debate on the "new" Building 7 that’s been proposed? <grin>

  18. Scott says:

    You think they would have built an underground garage if the house hadn’t been there?  Is it just going to be an empty field when the people die and the house is torn down?  So many questions…

  19. As the info trickles in.

  20. I am staying in the Mariott Residence Inn&amp;nbsp;in 29Pl off 148th Av. I was driving down&amp;nbsp;along with…

  21. I Hate Linux says:

    That’s right. You heard me… yesterday, December 22nd was the first day of the spring! Says who? Says

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content