With the shift toward more evergreen remote work models still going strong, Pinterest has decided to move away from leasing a massive 490,000-square-foot SoMa office space — and, instead, pay a one-time fee of $89.5M to cut ties with the 88 Bluxome Street address they planned on leasing.
It’s no news that working from home is now the new norm across the board. In fact, a recent finding from Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) found some 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working remotely. And though the adoption of remote work has been steadily increasing over the past decade, the coronavirus has catalyzed that change.
With that in mind, everyone’s favorite mood board-sharing platform Pinterest has recently opted to get out of a multi-million-dollar SoMa office lease, according to the Chronicle.
However, the company will continue leasing it’s four existing San Francisco offices (including it’s largest at 651 Brannan Street) and, rather than lock itself into a lofty financial commitment for a space that may sit empty for some time, will pay a single fee of $89.5M to cancel the 88 Bluxome Street lease.
Had Pinterest not exited the agreement, the “88 Bluxome project” would have been at least a $440M financial obligation for the company
“As we analyze how our workplace will change in a post-COVID world, we are specifically rethinking where future employees could be based,” said Todd Morgenfeld, Pinterest’s chief financial officer, in a statement published by the newspaper. “A more distributed workforce will give us the opportunity to hire people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences.”
Pinterest had the first and only lease commitment in the newly dubbed Central South of Market district — a 230-acre slice of SoMa set to offer almost 16 million square feet of space for residential and commercial properties; the City also expects the district to potentially home some 20,000 new residents and 30,000 new jobs by 2040 — which admittedly adds to the ominous outlook for the Bay Area’s economy.
And SF's tech industry as we've come to know it, altogether.
(Per the Chronicle, the million-square-foot 88 Bluxome project was estimated to start building this year and replace the Bay Club San Francisco Tennis; the 24-court tennis facility is now being used as a temporary homeless shelter amid the pandemic.)
According to Pinterest, the company is currently made up of over 2,200 employees spread around the world. A quick scroll through LinkedIn will unearth job listings (many in data science and web engineering) in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago… but also across the world in countries like Japan, Ireland, and Brazil.
Pinterest’s 88 Bluxome project exit also comes at a time where other tech companies (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) have introduced remote work policies that will allow employees to do their jobs from home well into 2021 — or later.
Over 400 million active "pinners" now visit and use the social media and image service, monthly.
Image: Jason Barone