IBM’s Watson Group to open offices at 51 Astor Place

From left: 51 Astor Place and IBM's Watson Computer
From left: 51 Astor Place and IBM's Watson Computer

Computer giant IBM is heading to the East Village, along with 2,000 employees and a “Jeopardy computer.”

The company’s new IBM Watson Group business unit, created to build out the Watson, a computer system that made its first public appearance on Jeopardy three years ago, is moving its headquarters to Edward Minskoff’s 51 Astor Place.

The new locale in the heart of “Silicon Alley” was chosen, sources told Forbes, because IBM hopes to build momentum and show New York’s burgeoning techie scene that IBM can still be cool. The new office will also have an incubator space, CEO Ginni Rometty told Forbes.

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Details about the lease or brokers on the deal were not immediately available.

Rumors circulated as early as 2012 that IBM was eyeing space in Minskoff’s ambitious building, which at the time lacked any firm deals. Online vintage goods auctioneer 1stdibs signed on to become the building’s first tenant in October, and rents have since climbed as high as $115 per square foot[Forbes]Julie Strickland