The latest in a long line of companies ditching San Francisco for greener pastures, Microsoft has officially put their offices in the once-booming city up for sublet. What many are calling the “tech-xodus,” companies like Microsoft simply can’t rationalize staying in San Fran while the city falls apart at the seams.
Economists are reporting that San Francisco is spiraling into an “urban doom loop” as companies and even small businesses are being run out of downtown thanks to the pandemics, increased crime, and consequent destruction.
<iframe width=”100%” height=”100%” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”true” src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/755qQzaFbBM?rel=0″></iframe>
In fact, 34% of downtown San Francisco offices now sit completely empty, and if Microsoft doesn’t find a company to end their 49,000 square-foot space, that number may increase. And because nearly 80% of downtown San Francisco is made up of office space, that means about a third of the neighborhood is just empty buildings.
There are essentially three reasons why all these businesses are moving out of downtown San Fran: The Coronavirus pandemic, the increased crime, and what many are calling the “squalor of downtown.” And realistically, all three go hand in hand.
When the pandemic was in full force, ninety-five different retailers in downtown San Francisco closed their doors forever. And with fewer medium-sized businesses and shops to enjoy, the general population of the city basically stopped going downtown.
And Joe Eskenazi, the manager of San Francisco nonprofit Mission Local, told the press, “The difference now is that with fewer people downtown, a higher percentage you see are visibly homeless.”
The homeless population in downtown San Francisco is certainly deterring homed residents from shopping, eating, or even working in the neighborhood, but it’s not just about the sheer number of people on the streets. It’s also the fact that public drug use is rampant. In fact, there have been almost 350 overdoses in the city of San Francisco already this year, which is more than 40% higher than the same time frame in 2022.
Of course, the economy of downtown is taking a hit without shoppers, but more importantly, without businesses to rent the small and large spaces, the actual economy of the city is starting to really struggle. Last March, local officials announced that the budget shortfall for 2023 increased to $290 million, which is $90 million more than they planned for.
Because of these several potent and frustrating issues, big companies such as Linkedin, Meta, Airbnb, Paypal, Slack, and Lyft have all left San Francisco behind and moved to somewhere with less crime, economic issues, and “squalor.”
It’s certainly a sad day for the city of San Francisco as they watch the companies and their employees who once made it one of the busiest, most lucrative, and generally best cities in the country. And now, after years in the Golden Gate City, Microsoft has joined the exodus and is packing its belongings right now to head out.