IBM narrows search for big Manhattan office

Despite pandemic, tech giant taps Cushman & Wakefield to find space

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna

Much has changed since last fall, when IBM was looking for a sizable new office in Manhattan.

One thing that hasn’t is that IBM is still pursuing it, even as the pandemic and work-from-home has raised doubt about the future of offices in urban centers.

In fact, the blue-chip giant has narrowed its search down to about six buildings — including SL Green’s One Madison Avenue — and has hired Cushman & Wakefield to find it, Business Insider reported. At One Madison Avenue, it would potentially anchor a redevelopment. Crain’s reported on the tech company’s search and rumored Cushman hiring in October.

The Blue Chip tech giant, which two months ago ditched an enormous WeWork office, is seeking between 450,000 and 500,000 square feet to consolidate other Manhattan offices.

The move would restore some confidence in the office sector, which has nosedived. Just 8.3 million square feet has been leased in Manhattan this year, down from almost 15 million at this point last year, CBRE reported.

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Some tech firms are pushing ahead with leases, however. Facebook agreed to take 700,000 square feet on Manhattan’s West Side at the Farley Building, which continues to take shape. Social media site TikTok recently scored 200,000 square feet from the Durst Organization at 151 West 42nd Street in Times Square.

But encouraging signs in office leasing continue to be the exception.

WeWork, the troubled flex office space behemoth, has so much empty office space that it has hired brokerages including CBRE and JLL to find tenants. Google said that its 200,000-person workforce would be remote until at least summer of 2021, and Twitter announced that its employees can work from home indefinitely. [Business Insider] — Georgia Kromrei