In what would be one of the first big office-lease deals in San Francisco since the mad sublease sell-off wave began during the pandemic, AI pioneer OpenAI is said to be in "serious" talks to take one of Uber's four buildings next to the Chase Center in Mission Bay.
The glass building at 1725 Third Street (at 16th) is one of the most prominent of Uber's office complex surrounding Thrive City and the Chase Center. As the SF Business Times reports, while nothing is confirmed, we know that OpenAI is in the market for expansion space, and we know that Uber has been quietly marketing the building for about two years and it had never fully occupied it.
The building, which has a Philz Coffee location in its base, reportedly 287,000 square feet of office space. OpenAI has reportedly been seeking as much as 500,000 square feet of new space, with plans to expand its workforce from around 500 employees now to 1,500 to 2,000 employees.
OpenAI currently has two offices in the Mission District. This real estate move marks something of a sea change for SF tech and the office market, with a big player from the last tech boom, Uber, potentially handing unused space over to a rising player in AI.
Uber began its project to massively expand into new space in Mission Bay in the high-flying days of 2014, back when Travis Kalanick was still CEO. The company paid a premium for the property, buying it from Salesforce after that company opted instead to put its global headquarters in Salesforce Tower. Uber partnered on the purchase, and on the construction of nearly 600,000 square feet of office space, with Golden State Warriors and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Uber then vacated space it had been occupying near the Twitter building on mid-Market Street and began paying rent on the Mission Bay space in 2019, including three other buildings at 1455 Third, 1515 Third, and 1655 Third.
Both Uber and Salesforce have since shrunk their workforces in San Francisco, being among a number of tech companies to have layoffs in the last year's "realignment," with many focused on profits and figuring out how to best do business in an era of higher interest rates.
Uber's last round of layoffs occurred in June, and included 200 people from its recruiting team.
Per the SF Business Times, it's not clear whether Uber may have made any of its other office space at Mission Bay complex available to OpenAI, given its reported need.
The company behind ChatGPT currently occupies two buildings at 3180 18th Street and 575 Florida Street.
Photo via Google Street View