Dropbox suffers $175 million San Francisco real estate loss in 2022

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston speaks onstage in the course of the Dropbox Get the job done In Progress Convention at Pier 48 on September 25, 2019 in San Francisco

Matt Winkelmeyer | Dropbox | Getty Visuals

Dropbox said in its fourth-quarter earnings statement on Thursday that it recorded an impairment in the period of $162.5 million “as a final result of adverse improvements in the company true estate sector in the San Francisco Bay area.” Its total authentic estate impairment for the 12 months was $175.2 million. Though significant, it is even now well down below the $400 million hit the organization took in late 2020.

Of all the major U.S. markets, San Francisco has been among the the slowest to rebound from the Covid pandemic since of its large reliance on the tech sector, which has frequently maintained a hybrid workforce and, in some conditions, has gone absolutely remote.

Tim Regan, Dropbox’s finance chief, claimed on Thursday that the subleasing surroundings has turn into additional tough than management had predicted, and the company is no for a longer period assuming it will sublease extra space in San Francisco in the upcoming handful of decades.

“We have been reasonably rapid to sector with our subleasing plans, but the marketplace has deteriorated, with lots of firms decreasing their real estate footprint,” Regan explained. “And you will find definitely been an enhance in offer for serious estate for sublease, which has pushed out our predicted time to lease.”

Dropbox produced splashy headlines in 2017 when the program company signed the biggest office lease at any time in San Francisco, securing 736,000 sq. ft around 15 several years in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood.

The mix of a worldwide pandemic in 2020, which led to a growth in distant function, followed by a downturn in the tech market very last year has turned that significant space into a money albatross with an original bare minimum motivation of $836 million. As of September, that selection sat at $569 million.

Dropbox opted to go “virtual initially” in 2020, announcing in a website write-up that “remote perform (exterior an office environment) will be the major expertise for all staff members and the working day-to-working day default for specific perform.” That reduced the company’s will need for office house and pushed it to locate tenants to sublease considerable chunks of its headquarters.

When Dropbox was ready to sublease items of its actual estate to some biotechnology businesses, there just isn’t sufficient desire to account for all of the firm’s vacant space.

The business office vacancy level in the 3rd quarter was 24% in San Francisco, higher than it truly is been considering that at least 2007, according to metropolis figures. Salesforce, Airbnb, Uber and Zendesk are amid other organizations that have taken true estate impairments in the metropolis. Yelp set its San Francisco headquarters up for lease in 2021.

Dropbox executives had predicted to sublease the company’s residence in the metropolis in mid-2023. They’ve pushed that focus on again two yrs, and lowered the rates the organization expects to get.

“We have surely been active, and we proceed to be active in partnering with our landlord in browsing for subleases,” Regan said. “But at this issue in time, this is our revised assumption, just given what we are dealing with at this moment.”

View: Silver Linings Playbook: How Dropbox leaned into the Pandemic Curve