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OpenAI Head Sam Altman Seeks $7T For Huge AI Initiative With Major CRE Implications

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks at a TechCrunch event in 2019.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is asking foreign governments and investors for up to $7T to pay for the infrastructure that will allow Altman to act on ambitious plans for the semiconductor and artificial intelligence industries, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Building out that infrastructure could have real implications for the commercial real estate industry, considering the foundries, office space and data centers needed to house expanded operations.

Altman is working to build relationships between chip producers, investors and OpenAI to build additional chip foundries, the WSJ reported, and OpenAI would agree to be a regular customer of the new facilities.

Earlier this week, Altman wrote about the need for more infrastructure support in AI on X, formerly Twitter, noting that there is a much greater need for infrastructure than what is currently planned.

Altman toured chip manufacturing plants in South Korea in late January, Fortune reported.

Artificial intelligence requires lots of data storage and hardware to run, and Altman is in talks with the United Arab Emirates government to raise funds to increase chip production, the WSJ reported.

In the U.S., the data center industry has grown along with AI, with the 2022 launch of ChatGPT helping fuel a development surge

There aren't enough chips, or graphic processing units, to fuel the coming developments in AI. Nvidia, a Bay Area leader in the technology, has had a shortage of supply, according to the WSJ.

AI has also driven leasing activity in downtown San Francisco's troubled office market. At the end of 2023, OpenAI signed a lease for 486K SF in Mission Bay, according to Transwestern.

Increased chip production could bring with it opportunities for industrial real estate, and foreign investors have already set off a bidding war for part of Nvidia’s Santa Clara campus, The San Francisco Standard reported this week.