The Future of San Francisco’s Financial District – NBC Bay Area


PayPal announces the closure of its offices in San Francisco, becoming the latest in a series of companies to leave as the city tries to recover from the pandemic.

According to the company, employees who work in its 425 Market offices will be allowed to work from home instead.

The exit highlights one of the big challenges facing San Francisco as it banks on getting big companies and their employees back in the office.

According to Bay Area Council’s Jeff Bellisario, about two-thirds of the workers the city lost during the pandemic have returned. But the city still faces major problems.

“When you look at the office vacancy rates in the city right now, they’re almost 25% the highest in the country,” Bellisario said.

The pandemic has also amplified some of the problems the city already had like its homeless population, the safety and reliability of public transportation like BART, and the high cost of living there.

And the COVID crisis has created new issues like worries about safety in the city and the possibility of working more from home than in the office.

“Increasingly, that means just a few days in the office and that’s impacting restaurants, dry cleaners, gyms, all those small businesses that depend on that daytime population,” Bellisario said.

For people already returning to their offices downtown, they say there are big changes because being in the office now is a much different experience than it was before the pandemic.

“It was great to be in the office seeing people in real life,” said Sydney resident Gwen Smallwood. “But it’s really normal now to have people in the room with you, and others on screen with you.”

And some of the lunchtime favorites are gone.

“Things are starting to come back to life, and unfortunately some businesses, from what I’ve seen, haven’t survived,” said San Leandro resident Oscar Martinez Bastidas.

Downtown San Francisco has seen a recovery, but it’s still a far cry from the pre-covid bustle.

But some who have returned to their offices do not care.

“I think a lot of people have said it’ll never be the same again and I agree. I think it will just be different,” said San Francisco resident Ben Stroud. “And hopefully we can improve it, but it will be different.”


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