Spotify broke its office space lease and moved its San Francisco headquarters to another area of the city because of crime- and drug-related safety concerns near the former HQ, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In making the move, the Swedish music streaming service has also given up a controversial payroll tax break that incentivized its move to the Mid-Market corridor in 2013.
Two former employees, speaking with the Chronicle on the condition of anonymity, said that a (SPOT) Spotify employee was slapped in the face by a homeless person last year, and that some workers felt unsafe due to the open drug dealing, visible poverty, and high crime rates in the area.
The Chronicle report ends with a quote that may explain more about the decision. One of the former employees also noted that Swedes who moved to San Francisco to work at the music streaming company were “unaccustomed to San Francisco’s homelessness crisis.”
Spotify’s new offices are squarely in the heart of the Financial District, which tends to have far fewer of the issues cited for leaving Market Street. Thanks to a contentious 2011 tax break offer extended to a number of tech companies, other firms that were enticed to move to the Mid-Market area, such as Uber and (TWTR) Twitter, still have offices in the area, as well as another company with Scandinavian roots, (ZEN) Zendesk.
This isn’t the first time an organization has made business decisions based on concerns about the safety of San Francisco’s streets, specifically Market Street. Earlier in 2018, a medical conference opted to move its semi-annual gathering to another venue, citing the reason as finding San Francisco’s streets too distressing due to open drug use and threatening behavior..