- Meta had 18 years remaining on the lease for an eight-storey office in London, the FT reports.
- Doing so will cost the tech giant around $181 million, per the FT.
- The move comes as Big Tech continues to reassess its relationship to in-person work post-pandemic.
Meta has paid $181 million to end its lease on an office in London that it never moved into, the Financial Times reported.
The Facebook and Instagram parent company had another 18 years left on the lease at 1 Triton Square — and paid about seven years worth of rent to end the obligation early, per the FT.
Matthew Saperia, an analyst at Peel Hunt, told the FT: “It is a staggering amount of money. In my 20 years, I can’t think of a tenant paying [so much] to give back space they don’t occupy.”
In 2021, Meta committed to leasing the eight-storey building near Regents’ Park in the British capital, after an extensive refurbishment, per the property developers, British Land.
However, the FT reports that Meta never actually moved into the office. Last December, the company said it had “decided to sublet the Triton Square office,” The Times of London reported.
The move follows Mark Zuckerberg’s “year of efficiency” which has seen Meta lay off 21,000 employees. Some hybrid staff have also been told to share desks. And last December, Meta moved out of two of its New York offices.
And in July, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, moved back to the US after spending a year in London.
Meta still has three other offices in London which remain open, one of which is only 120 yards away and has ten floors. And its main campus is based in King’s Cross, a stone’s throw from Google’s impending “landscraper.”
The move comes amid continuing debates among large corporations about the role of offices in the post-pandemic world.
After office workers generally worked from home during COVID-19, many bigger companies have now mandated returns to office. Meta, for instance, said in June that it wanted workers to return to the office three days a week, and in August told most employees to work in the office.
However, few tech firms are mandating employees work in the office five days a week, lowering the overall office space needed by many firms.
Meta itself said in late 2022 that it was undertaking an “ongoing rationalization of our office footprint,” as part of cost-cutting measures.
Paul Jayson, the head of Real Estate at law firm DLA Piper described Meta’s move as the “most recent example of corporates, particularly those in the tech sector, seeking to restructure their office footprint.
“Working from home during the various Covid lockdowns tore up the rulebook for office workers, allowing a level of freedom as to where (and when ?) to work,” he continued.
“Despite differences between certain sectors, the general sense is that many consider a five day office-based working life as onerous with a reluctance to cede the ‘freedom from the office desk’ gained between 2020 – 2022.”
Meta declined to comment when reached by Insider.