Adding to the already historic level of office vacancy in San Francisco, Meta is looking to dump 435,000 square feet of offices that it leased for Instagram employees five years ago in 181 Fremont.

The prominent SF office tower that sits on the skyline next to Salesforce Tower now becomes another poster child for the city's largely empty downtown. Meta, which at the time was still known as Facebook, leased out the entire office portion of 181 Fremont in September 2017 to become a new SF home for Instagram employees. This came after years in which Zuckerberg had staunchly refused to open offices north of Menlo Park, believing that employees were better off concentrated in Silicon Valley.

The upper 20 stories of the building are luxury condos, and Meta currently holds the lease on the lower 50 floors. As the SF Business Times reports, Meta's lease isn't up until March 2031, and it sounds like any sublease could begin as of June 1.

Office brokers have suggested that the market remains strong for Class A space like this, so perhaps it won't remain empty for long. Though it's hard to imagine another company taking all 50 floors in this particular climate, given the ongoing popularity of work-from-home looseness for everyone not employed by Elon Musk.

Meta, which has maintained a particularly lax policy about remote work, issued a statement about the move out of 181 Fremont, with a spokesperson telling the Business Times, "The future of work is here and we’re embracing it at Meta. The past few years have brought new possibilities around the role of the office, and we are prioritizing making focused, balanced investments to support our most strategic long-term priorities and lead the way in creating the workplace of the future. Our aim is to build a best-in-class remote work experience to help everyone do the best work of their careers no matter where they are."

This doesn't mean that Meta will be getting out San Francisco altogether. Per the Business Times, the company still has all of the office space in the 43-story Park Tower at 250 Howard, a block away from 181 Fremont, and they plan to hold on to it.

The news adds nearly another half-million square feet to the 21-million-square-foot tally of vacant offices that was recorded last month in SF. As noted yesterday, the city currently has 15 Salesforce Towers worth of offices sitting empty.

Meta announced late last year that it was pulling out of numerous office leases, including the termination of a lease in Manhattan at 225 Park Avenue South.

Meta has laid off around 2,000 Bay Area employees, and last week we learned that it had laid off 126 cafeteria employees, seriously downsizing food service at its main Menlo Park campus. The company laid off a total of 11,000 employees in early November across all of its worldwide offices.

At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted, regarding the company's growth in the last two years, "I got this wrong." The company's headcount swelled from around 59,000 employees in 2020 to 87,000 employees in mid-2022.

Related: Study Ranks San Francisco Dead Last In U.S. for Downtown Economic Recoveries

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