San Francisco

The Future of the San Francisco Financial District

NBC Universal, Inc.

PayPal says it’s closing its offices in San Francisco, becoming the latest in a string of companies leaving as the city tries to rebound from the pandemic.

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

The exit highlights one of the big challenges San Francisco is having as it banks on big name companies and their workers returning to the office.

According to Jeff Bellisario at the Bay Area Council, about two thirds of the workers the city lost during the pandemic have returned. But the city is still facing major issues.

"When you look at the office vacancy rates in the city right now are almost 25% the highest in the country,” said Bellisario. 

The pandemic also magnified some of the problems the city already had like its unhoused population, safety and reliability of public transportation like BART and the high-costs of living there.

And COVID crisis created new issues like concerns about safety in the city and the ability to work more from home instead of an office.

"More and more that just means a couple days in the office and that impacts the restaurants, the dry cleaners, the gyms, all those small businesses that rely on that daytime population," said Bellisario. 

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

"It's been great being in the office to see people in real life,” asi Sydney resident Gwen Smallwood. “But it's really normal now to have some people in the room with you, and some on the screen with you."

And some of the lunch time favorites aren't around anymore.

"Things are starting to come back to life, and unfortunately some businesses, from what I've seen, didn't make it through,” said Oscar Martinez Bastidas, San Leandro resident. 

Downtown San Francisco has seen some pickup but is still nowhere near the pre-covid bustle. 

But some who have returned to their offices don't mind that.

"I think a lot of people have said that it will never be like it was before and I agree. I think it will just be different,” said San Francisco resident Ben Stroud. “And hopefully we can make it better, but it will be different."

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