Tech CEO: Downtown San Francisco ‘Never Going Back’ to its Pre-Pandemic State

SAN FRANCISCO, USA - AUGUST 29: Homeless tents are seen near the City Hall of San Francisc
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, has claimed that downtown San Francisco will not be going back to its pre-pandemic state.

The coronavirus pandemic launched a revolution of stay-at-home work, forcing major metropolitan areas like downtown San Francisco to become havens for vacant office buildings. Per Fox Business:

The Associated Press reported that office vacancy rates in San Francisco were 24.8% in the first quarter, more than five times higher than pre-pandemic levels and well above the average rate of 18.5% for the nation’s top cities, according to CBRE, a commercial real estate services company.

For San Francisco, the three-year exile resulted in empty storefronts with large “going out of business” signs hanging from windows.

Popular shops like Uniqlo, Nordstrom Rack and Anthropologie have left, toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste are locked up at pharmacies, and places like Gucci get hit by armed robbers in broad daylight.

With a decrease in people commuting downtown, the local economy has taken a hit, with businesses being forced to close due to a dwindling customer base. This has forced parts of downtown San Francisco to relax its zoning rules for certain buildings to have mixed-use spaces.

Benioff said that the area is “never going back to the way it was” and advised Mayor London Breed to convert some offices into housing and hire more police.

“We need to rebalance downtown,” Benioff said.

According to the Associated Press, just last month, the owner of Westfield San Francisco Centre, a fixture for more than 20 years, said, “it was handing the mall back to its lender, citing declining sales and foot traffic. The owner of two towering hotels, including a Hilton, did the same.”

“San Francisco has become the prime example of what downtowns shouldn’t look like: vacant, crime-ridden and in various stages of decay. But in truth, it’s just one of many cities across the U.S. whose downtowns are reckoning with a post-pandemic wake-up call: diversify or die,” it added.

Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.


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