Microsoft and Facebook keep Reston Town Center plans despite return-to-office delays

Facebook has leased office space on the 10th floor of 1818 Library Street in Reston Town Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Like many of their counterparts across the technology industry, Microsoft and Facebook workers won’t be returning to cubicles any time soon, but both companies say they remain committed to previously announced plans to add office space at Reston Town Center.

Microsoft announced in a corporate blog post on Thursday (Sept. 9) that it has scrapped plans to fully reopen its California headquarters and other U.S. offices on Oct. 4, citing the continued uncertainty of COVID-19, particularly with the spread of the Delta variant.

“Protecting employee health and safety continues to be our top priority and we’ve decided to adjust our plans as we follow the latest information and guidance from health and data experts, and respond to COVID-19’s highly dynamic nature,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.

A presence in Reston since 2002, Microsoft currently occupies a 153,000 square-foot office in Two Discovery Square at 12012 Sunset Hills Road.

The company told Reston Now that it doesn’t disclose worker headcounts by location, but nationwide, the decision to indefinitely postpone its office reopening plans affects more than 103,000 employees, according to NBC4.

“We will fully re-open each U.S. worksite once our Stage 6 health and criteria and local guidelines are met at each location,” the Microsoft spokesperson said by email. “At that point, we’ll communicate a 30-day transition period that provides time for employees to return to the work site.”

Microsoft announced in May 2020 that it will lease 400,000 square feet of office space in Two Freedom Square (11955 Freedom Drive) at Reston Town Center to build a research and development hub, which is expected to create 1,500 jobs and feature a new retail space.

The Washington Business Journal reported in November that Microsoft had reached a deal with Reston Town Center owner Boston Properties to expand its Sunset Hills office by 45,000 square feet in addition to the development facility plans.

While Microsoft didn’t move into Two Freedom Square this summer as initially expected, the company says its plans for a Reston Town Center expansion have not changed.

“Our expansion in Reston fulfills long-term business needs that we don’t anticipate shifting due to the current COVID-19 environment,” Microsoft said.

Facebook likewise confirmed that it still plans to set up a Reston office, even after announcing on Aug. 12 that U.S. employees won’t be required to return to offices until January.

Boston Properties shared in an earnings call on Oct. 31, 2019 that the social media giant had signed a lease for about 75,000 square feet of space at Reston Town Center, which beat out a Tysons office tower that was reportedly also under consideration.

The address of the new office wasn’t disclosed, but a permit issued by Fairfax County on March 17, 2020 indicated that Facebook will occupy the 10th floor of 1818 Library Street, which counts Carr Workplaces and the scientific consulting firm Metron as tenants.

More recently, Fairfax County issued a non-residential use permit to Facebook for the Reston Town Center space on July 8.

“We’re eager to continue expanding to support Facebook’s growing teams, and be a part of Reston’s vibrant community and strong business economy,” Facebook spokesperson Jamila Reeves said in a statement. “We always have our eye on new opportunities to support employees in the region.”

Facebook did not return follow-up inquiries about a move-in timeline and the number of employees that will work at the Reston office by press time.

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