Twitter, big tenant in Midtown South, says employees can permanently work from home
Published Friday, May 15, 2020

The neon sign declaring “#LoveWhereYouWork” in Twitters’ various offices is about to take on a new meaning.

CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in an email Tuesday that some of them would be able to permanently work from home, even after the coronavirus crisis is over.

“If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” a representative from the company said in an email. “If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it’s safe to return.”

The company also said that “with very few exceptions,” it won’t open any of its offices until September and won’t hold any company events for the remainder of 2020. Some employees, including those who maintain servers, will still need to report to the office, as Buzzfeed News first reported.

It’s not clear what this change will mean for Twitter’s Manhattan headquarters at Columbia Property Trust’s 245-249 West 17th Street. The hip-Chelsea office — once equipped with rosé on tap, a ping-pong table, a Big Buck Hunter arcade game and, like many of its offices, a “#LoveWhereYouWork” neon sign — was part of a larger wave of tech tenants that have helped lift up the Midtown South office market over the past few years.

But what was once viewed as a strength may prove to be a vulnerability as companies decide when and if to reopen their physical offices. Twitter has taken up 215,000 square feet in Columbia’s adjacent buildings since it first started leasing space at the properties in 2014. In November 2018, the company renewed its lease at the property for five more years, despite having subleased multiple floors to Netflix and Lyft as it faced growth challenges.

Twitter appears to be the first major tech company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely in response to the coronavirus. Google and Facebook have told their staff to prepare to work remotely through at least the rest of 2020, according to Bloomberg.

A representative for Columbia declined to comment. Cresa’s Christina Clarke, who represented Twitter on the lease, declined to comment.

Columbia purchased the buildings in October 2017 from New York REIT for $514 million. Twitter is the largest of Columbia’s tenants at the 17th Street property, and according to its 2019 annual report, the social media site represented $17 million in annualized lease revenue last year.

The email from a Twitter representative on Tuesday ended with an amended version of its office hashtag, “#LoveWhereverYouWork.”

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