Spotify Abandons Its San Francisco HQ Over Homelessness, Safety Issues

Spotify, the Swedish music streaming giant, has recently moved its San Francisco office from the Mid-Market neighbourhood to the Financial District. The company had accepted a tax break for having its office in the Mid-Market area, which is known for having a high concentration of homelessness, drug dealing, and crime. However, citing safety concerns, former employees reported that they did not feel secure in the area, leading Spotify to break its lease and move to another part of the city.

The move has come as a blow to the Mid-Market neighbourhood, which has been struggling to attract new businesses and investment. When Spotify moved into the area in 2013, many city officials celebrated the move as a major step towards revitalising the neighbourhood. Along with other tech companies like Twitter, Spotify was given a controversial employee tax break for choosing to locate its offices in the area.

As part of the tax break, Spotify was required to provide “community benefits,” which included donations, volunteer work, providing meals to the less fortunate, and subsidising art and concert tickets for events in the neighbourhood. However, despite the company bringing many high-paying jobs to the area, it did little to change the core demographics of the neighbourhood.

With the move, Spotify has given up its substantial tax breaks and has not applied to extend them so far. They have until the end of December to do so. The company has also given up its space at 988 Market Street and left the revitalisation effort. The move has left other tech companies like Zendesk, Match Group, and Benchmark in the building Spotify has abandoned.

The move to the Financial District will not only affect the Mid-Market neighbourhood but also the people who worked at Spotify’s San Francisco office. The number of employees the company has in San Francisco has fluctuated between 30 and 50. According to the company’s website, there are only two job openings in the city, which means that the company will be hiring mostly in Stockholm (its original headquarters) and New York City. Both cities have 72 and 109 job openings, respectively.

Spotify’s move from the Mid-Market neighbourhood to the Financial District will impact the revitalisation effort of the area. The Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighbourhoods currently have the highest violent crime rates in the city. The move will also mean that the company will have to give up its tax breaks, which were given to encourage new businesses to locate in the area.

However, some have argued that the tax breaks provided to businesses in the area have not been successful in revitalising the neighbourhood. Instead, they have led to gentrification and displacement of low-income residents. The tax breaks have also been criticised for providing large corporations with incentives to move into the area without any substantial benefit to the community.

In conclusion, Spotify’s move from the Mid-Market neighbourhood to the Financial District is a significant development that will affect the revitalisation effort of the area. The move has come after the company cited safety concerns and will mean that the company will have to give up its tax breaks. However, some have argued that the tax breaks provided to businesses in the area have not been successful in revitalising the neighbourhood and instead have led to gentrification and displacement of low-income residents.

3 Responses

  1. As The World Turns

    It’s a real shame that drug addicts and dealers, crooks, thieves, vicious beggars, violent assaults are becoming so rampant in what was once nice and safe cities.

    I don’t feel safe in the city anymore as you just don’t know if some threatening violent thief is going to steal your iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, watch, wallet and travel pass..

    It’s a scary world in many places..

  2. Will Buckley

    After living in the Bay Area, mostly Stunningly beautiful Marin County, for 35 years I was stunned by the changes brought on by the obscene wealth pouring in from the tech industry.

    The whole vibe and diversity of the area was destroyed. The families and Latin culture that once energized the Mission are gone and the city has been sanitized by gentrification.

  3. Johnny James Curry Jr.

    That was not restaurant row?