Spotify gives up San Francisco headquarters (and tax breaks) over safety concerns

Spotify, the streaming music company, left its San Francisco headquarters in the Mid-Market area over concerns about the safety of its employees. The departure means the company will no longer be eligible for special tax breaks given to a number of tech companies who moved into the area including Twitter. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Swedish tech company leased three floors of office space in a 1922 building at 988 Market St. that includes the Warfield theater concert venue. It was a “perfect fit” for the music-focused company, Spotify said at the time.

But in the past month, the company moved out before its lease ended — and will no longer be eligible for the controversial Mid-Market payroll tax break…

The change was motivated in part because some Spotify workers felt unsafe, said two former Spotify workers, who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions from former or current employers. The Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods have some of the highest violent crime and poverty rates in the city, according to government data.

Last year, a female Spotify employee was slapped in the face by a homeless woman near the office, the former employees said. A person in the real estate industry familiar with the building who was not authorized to speak publicly about the episode also confirmed that the incident happened.

“There were safety concerns,” one of the former employees said, including drug dealing on the corner. “I think it really alarmed people.”

Spotify’s new headquarters is located in the financial district near the headquarters of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Earlier this year a major medical convention announced it would not be returning to San Francisco because of concerns about street people and safety. That one decision cost the city approximately $40 million in tourism dollars which will presumably go to a city with cleaner streets.

In August the SF Chronicle reported the city was receiving 78 calls a day about human feces. The city announced it was launching a “poop patrol” to clean up the mess.

Last month the city passed a new proposition designed to double the amount ($300 million) already spent on the homeless. Proposition C is a tax on top earning companies which proponents say needed a simple majority to pass. It got that and more. However, opponents argue a measure which directs money to a specific issue requires a two-thirds majority to be approved. Since the measure didn’t get that, the issue is now tied up in court.

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Jazz Shaw 7:31 PM on October 02, 2022