AI firm Anthropic to take 230K sf at Slack headquarters in SF

Pending sublease deal could be the city’s biggest since the pandemic

AI firm Anthropic to take up Slack’s 230K sf headquarters in Downtown SF
Dario and Daniela Amodei with 500 Howard Street (The Hertz Foundation, Daniela Amodei via X, Google Maps, Getty)

A rosy forecast for artificial intelligence companies in San Francisco has resulted in Anthropic agreeing to sublease Slack’s 230,000-square-foot headquarters in Downtown.

The locally based AI firm is in a pending deal to sublease the Slack offices at 500 Howard Street in South of Market, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing an unidentified source. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

If the sublease closes and gets a nod from landlord Heitman, it could be one of the largest local deals since the pandemic. And it could be a boon to a city Mayor London Breed has dubbed “the AI capital of the world” — the hope of San Francisco’s troubled office market.

San Francisco-based Salesforce, the city’s largest employer, owns Slack and is a major investor in Anthropic, founded two years ago by former employees of OpenAI. Anthropic has raised more than $1.1 billion from investors, including $500 million tied up by FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, confirmed the deal but didn’t name the company to occupy the Slack hub during an earnings call. Salesforce’s venture capital arm doubled its generative AI fund in June to $500 million.

“Now through our $500 million generative AI Fund, we’re seeing the development of ethical AI with amazing companies like Anthropic, Cohere, Hugging Face and some others,” Benioff said on Wednesday.

“I just heard one of them just subleased our entire Slack building,” he said, “but I’m not allowed to say who it is, but I couldn’t be more excited about that because we’re really seeing downtown San Francisco become AI Central.”

Slack leased its headquarters at 500 Howard Street in 2017; the Foundry IV lease expires in 2031. Its workers were moved to Salesforce Tower this year after Salesforce laid off workers and trimmed real estate holdings. 

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Anthropic, founded in 2021 by former OpenAI executives Daniela and Dario Amodei, expanded its San Francisco offices this summer, signing a 17,700-square-foot lease at 394 Pacific Avenue in Jackson Square.

It joins Hive AI, Hayden AI and Tome AI in inking office leases this summer in San Francisco. Artificial intelligence firms now lease offices in 80 buildings in San Francisco, according to a June report from JLL. 

A new section of the city known as “Area AI” now includes parts of the Mission District, western SoMa and Potrero Hill. Of the 80 AI companies cited last spring by JLL in San Francisco, two dozen now operate within Area AI.

Last month, Adept AI Labs was poised to lease 35,000 square feet at 350 Rhode Island Street. OpenAI, based in the city, was in “serious” talks with Uber to lease part of its hub at 1725 Third Street. And now Anthropic.

JLL is tracking more than 10 AI companies seeking to lease up to 1 million square feet of offices in the city.

“Deals like these do have a tendency to increase enthusiasm in the market among other tech and non-tech companies. It shows faith in San Francisco,” Robert Sammons of Cushman & Wakefield told the Chronicle. “There is still such a deep bench of tech talent that other regions can’t really compete with.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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