The billionaire claimed landlords torpedoed his idea of using vacant offices to house vagrants
Twitter owner Elon Musk has accused his landlord of rejecting a proposal to use vacant office space at the social media company’s headquarters in San Francisco to help ease the city’s homelessness crisis.
“We tried to make it a homeless shelter,” Musk said Tuesday night in a BBC News interview. “They (the owners) won’t let us.” he added, “We only use one of the buildings, so the other building could be a homeless shelter. We would like to do that now. . . . If the owner of the building allows us, we will.
Since completing his $44 billion takeover of Twitter last October, Musk has cut the company’s workforce by more than 80%, to about 1,500 employees. Cost cutting left much of the 463,000 square foot head office space vacant. The property is owned by SRI Nine Market Square LLC, a subsidiary of Shorenstein Realty Services LP and a unit of JP Morgan Chase & Co. SRI sued Twitter in January for allegedly failing to pay rent.
Musk also clashed with the owner over his plan to remove the ‘w’ from the Twitter sign to the company’s headquarters, changing the name to ‘Chuckle’. He told the BBC that he had decided to cover the ‘w’ with white paint after the owners refused to let him remove it.
Asked how the proposed homeless shelter would be run, Musk said: “I don’t know. We could just let people stay there. That’s fine . . . . . They could bring their stuff, bring their tent, whatever. He asked his supporters about the idea last year, before buying Twitter, saying workers weren’t showing up at company offices anyway.
San Francisco has approximately 8,000 homeless people, contributing to increase in crime and thousands of reports of public defecation and drug needles on the streets. It’s unclear how Twitter could handle sharing its office space with vagabonds. Whole Foods on Tuesday announced the closure of its flagship San Francisco store over concerns that crime in the area could put its employees at risk. Managers were reportedly forced to restrict access to the store’s toilets after used syringes and tubing were found on the floor in November.
Musk told the BBC that Twitter’s annual revenue fell from $4.5 billion to $3 billion before he bought the company, while its costs fell from $4.5 billion to $3 billion. $6 billion. Without the cost cuts or a capital injection, it only had enough cash to continue operating for another four months. He said the cash flow is “pretty much breakeven at this point.”
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