Things are going so great in California that Pinterest just paid $89.5 million to cancel its 490,000-square-foot lease at the upcoming 88 Bluxome project in San Francisco.
The company blames working from home as a result of the pandemic as the reason for abandoning the lease - but we're sure the state's rising taxes, impending real estate market crash and conversion of the property to a temporary homeless shelter in March likely helped contribute to the decision making.
Either way, Pinterest wanted out of the lease so badly they were willing to fork over a hefty sum to ensure they would not be held to it. The company's total lease obligations for the property would have amounted to $440 million.
Pinterest's CFO told the San Francisco Chronicle: “As we analyze how our workplace will change in a post-COVID world, we are specifically rethinking where future employees could be based. A more distributed workforce will give us the opportunity to hire people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences.”
Pinterest appears to be following in the steps of companies like Facebook, who has also embraced the idea of remote work for its staff. Facebook aims to have half of its company working remotely "within a decade", CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.
To us, it appears to be more of a statement about San Francisco's real estate market than about Pinterest. After all, the company was the first and only lease commitment "in San Francisco’s 230-acre Central South of Market district, where numerous large commercial and residential projects have been approved after the city raised height limits last year," the Chronicle said.
They were to help contribute to 30,000 new jobs and 20,000 new residents in the district, which the city hoped would fuel more than $2 billion in public benefits. The project is "now in doubt". The proposed 88 Bluxome project was supposed to start construction this year, but current plans for the project are now "unclear".
And in peak San Francisco fashion, the city converted the tennis club currently on the lot to a homeless shelter in March.