The post-pandemic San Francisco will never be the same.
An interesting report from Bloomberg described how the Salesforce Tower, the cloud-based software firm’s headquarters, is missing the “buzz” it used to have prior to the pandemic.
Since the pandemic, San Francisco has seen major firms leaving their physical office spaces as they adopt hybrid work models.
Nearby is a skyscraper leased by Meta Platforms Inc. Last month, the Facebook owner announced plans to fire 11,000 workers worldwide.
According to Bloomberg, thousands of tech layoffs, falling equity values, and the crypto meltdown have only deepened the blow to an area long known for innovation and astonishing wealth.
San Francisco needs a “new economic driver” to become a place where remote workers actually want to live, said Jeff Bellisario, executive director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, which is working on a study to determine how to revamp downtown.
“The challenge in all of this is that we’re kind of rebuilding to something that doesn’t necessarily exist,” he said. “What does the new San Francisco look like? And I’m not sure we’ve totally figured that out yet.”
If people can work from anywhere, they have less incentive to live in a city where they need an income of almost $400,000 to buy a median-priced house.
Even Marc Benioff, the billionaire co-CEO of Salesforce and one of San Francisco’s most prominent boosters, recognizes that the city urgently needs a revival.
“We need more diversity” in the business district, he said in an interview with Bloomberg, lamenting how San Francisco feels much less alive than places like New York. “We need more residential downtown. We need more museums downtown. We need more clubs downtown. We need more universities downtown. Office space was maximized for the tech boom.”