Block to pull out of SF’s Mid-Market after delisting HQ

Fintech firm will not renew lease for 470K sf amid shift to remote work

Block's Jack Dorsey with 1455 Market, Block Head
Block's Jack Dorsey with 1455 Market St (Getty)

Another corporate headquarters in San Francisco has vanished as Block delists HQ and closes its Mid-Market shop.

The financial tech company will not renew its lease for nearly 470,000 square feet at its former headquarters at 1455 Market St. in the city’s struggling Mid-Market neighborhood, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The publicly traded firm, formerly known as Square, set up its headquarters at the Mid-Market address in 2012. Its lease expires in September 2023, though Block already subleased 125,000 square feet of its former hub.

Early this year, it delisted San Francisco as its official headquarters as it shifts to a “distributed work model,” with the pandemic accelerating its focus toward remote work. The firm no longer claims a corporate headquarters.

Los Angeles-based Hudson Pacific Properties, which owns the 1 million-square-foot building, declined to comment to the Business Times.

Block, co-founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and known for its point-of-sale services for small merchants, will continue to offer space for employees in San Francisco.

That includes an office at 760 Market St., a lease it assumed as part of its $29 billion acquisition of Australian fintech Afterpay last year.
It will also retain its 356,000-square-foot lease at Uptown Station in Oakland, alongside leases in Atlanta, New York City, Seattle, St. Louis and Scottsdale, Arizona, the company said.

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It said it would seek to open a small office in the South Bay to accommodate its Bay Area workforce.

Its growth in Mid-Market – more than doubling its initial 150,000 square feet – helped lead a neighborhood boom as Twitter and Uber leased nearby space, spurred by a city tax incentive.

The number of people employed in the computer, engineering and science industries grew 120 percent in the neighborhood compared to 45 percent citywide, according to city data.

Then came the pandemic, and remote work, with Twitter listing 100,000 square feet of its headquarters for sublease in September 2020. Uber announced it would move its headquarters to Mission Bay before the pandemic.

Block’s exit gives another blow to Mid-Market, where office vacancy rates were 33.7 percent in the first quarter.

Tech companies during the pandemic have led the Bay Area in shifting to remote work, with dozens of companies downsizing their corporate offices, and companies such as Old Navy, Tesla, TaskRabbit and Zoom either leaving the state or closing altogether.

[San Francisco Business Times] – Dana Bartholomew