It’s like a 180-degree turn from the “Twitter Tax Break” days, as the City of San Francisco is grabbing office space in the 1455 Market Street building that used to be headquarters to Uber and Stripe, with an option to buy the whole building.

It was well before the pandemic hit when the rideshare company Uber bailed out of its headquarters at 1455 Market Street in 2019, moving to its newly constructed headquarters at the Chase Center complex. And then in 2022, the payment processing company Block also moved out of that building, after that firm which was formerly known as Square found that their blockchain-focused rebrand may not have been the wisest move. Reddit also left that building last year, and WeWork bailed out of it too.

The Chronicle’s John King wrote a near-obituary for 1455 Market a year ago, entitled “From tech hub to empty husk: How S.F. building shows city’s latest cycle of boom to bust.”  

But as corporate tenants head for the exits and drive down the building’s price, other opportunities arise. The Chronicle broke the news Friday that the City of San Francisco will lease more than four floors of 1455 Market, space totaling about 157,000 square feet. Plus, the lease gives the city the option to outright buy the whole building in a few years.

As Supervisor Aaron Peskin notes in his football-spiking tweet above, the move is actually a cost-saving measure for the city. They’ll likely move several departments from their current 1155 Market Street offices to this building, where the city will be paying substantially lower rent.

“The building is nearly empty and given current market conditions, the Lease Option and Purchase Option provide a unique opportunity for the City to meet its short term cost savings goals, as well as its long term goal of consolidation through leasing or purchase,” SF director of Real Estate Services said in a March 25 letter to the SF Board of Supervisors, per the Chronicle.

The city will not be taking over the entire 22-story building, but just the 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th floors, plus part of the seventh floor. The lease gives them options to also take on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. Additionally, the city gets the option to buy the whole building outright by December 31, 2027.

Oh, and the city can buy the furniture that all those tech companies left behind for $1.

“It’s a win-win,” Peskin told the Chronicle. “We are doubling down on Mid-Market. We have the opportunity to buy an entire building. And there are going to be thousands of city employees in the area — this is a boon to Mid-Market.”

The city departments which seem likely to move into 1455 Market are the Department of the Environment, the Mayor’s Office of Disability, and the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. The SFMTA and the SF County Transportation Authority are already housed in 1455 Market.  The SF Board of Supervisors still has to approve the purchase.

And the city may not be done grabbing properties in this distressed market. According to the Chronicle, the city “negotiated another deal in the building at 1145 Market St., near Civic Center, and expects to formally announce it next week.” That building is also known as One Trinity Plaza.

But taking the historical view, this is almost like a 180-degree turn from the so-called “Twitter Tax Break” of 2011. That law handed city tax exemptions to companies moving into the blighted and bedraggled Mid-Market area. But now that those tech companies are finding themselves somewhat financially blighted and bedraggled, the shoe is on the other foot, and the City of San Francisco's government offices are moving in.

Related: Yahoo, of All Companies, Is Scooping Up SF Office Space In a Big SoMa Sublease Deal [SFist]

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