IBM in talks to take desks at WeWork as it searches for new NYC office

Company to buy memberships at 88 University Place while it looks for as much as 350K sf

Adam Neumann and 88 University Place
Adam Neumann and 88 University Place

As it searches for a huge new office, IBM plans to temporarily send some of its Watson crew to WeWork’s Greenwich Village location, which is around the corner from the company’s Astor Place headquarters.

IBM is negotiating to buy memberships for its employees at WeWork’s 88 University Place location while it searches for a new office that could be as big as 350,000 square feet, sources told The Real Deal.

A spokesperson for WeWork declined to comment, and representatives for IBM could not be reached.

The number of desks IBM plans to take wasn’t clear, but it’s not unheard of for large companies to buy group memberships at WeWork for large numbers of employees. Microsoft last year inked a deal for 300 employees to take space at two WeWork locations in Chelsea and the Financial District for its Office 365 sales team.

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And the shared-office provider’s largest corporate tenant, HSBC, took 300 desks in Hong Kong.

The 88 University location is just a short walk from Edward Minskoff’s 51 Astor Place, where IBM’s Watson group is the building’s 144,000-square-foot anchor tenant.

Fashion designer Elie Taharie bought the 11-story building from Himmel + Meringoff Properties for $70 million in 2015.

Industry sources said IBM is in talks with Normandy Real Estate Partners and Ares Management to anchor a new office building they’re considering developing nearby at 797-799 Broadway. A source close to Normandy, however, denied those allegations.