Automattic to Close San Francisco Office

Automattic’s San Francisco, CA office is located at 140 Hawthorne. Since 2013, it has served as a coworking space, hosted the WordCamp San Francisco 2014 after party, and has been used as a venue for local meetups.

On episode 101 of the Stack Overflow podcast, Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, announced that the company will be closing its San Francisco office.

At the 45:50 mark, Joel Spolsky, co-host of the show, asks Mullenweg if Automattic is one of the largest fully distributed companies in the world.

“Yeah, in fact, we’re looking at shutting down our San Francisco office,” Mullenweg said. “We got an office there about six or seven years ago, pretty good lease, but nobody goes in it. Five people go in it and it’s 15,000 square feet. There are as many gaming tables as there are people.”

Automattic has listed the property through Colliers International, a global real estate company that has more than 500 offices across 67 countries.

automattic-offices
photo credit: Peter Slutsky

The building used to be a Fairtex location. Fairtex is a manufacturer of combat equipment and clothing for Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. The building was completely renovated in 2013 and designed by Baran Studio Architecture.

The design was based on accommodating 15 to 20 people on a daily basis with options to expand to accommodate a few hundred people.

WCSF Contributor Day
WCSF 2014 Contributor Day

One of my favorite parts of the Automattic office is the T-Shirt museum where shirt designs from WordCamps across the world are displayed. Mullenweg says the items in the museum will be saved somewhere.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Automattic’s US office, you can tour the inside of it without leaving your home.

In 2016, San Francisco was named the most expensive city to conduct business according to a report by the CBRE. If Automattic’s office isn’t being used by 20 or 30 people a day, as was originally intended, it makes sense to invest that money elsewhere.

The closing of the San Francisco office leaves Automattic with two physical offices in the world: One in Cape Town, South Africa where a number of WooCommerce employees live and Automattic East in Westbrook, Maine.

6 Comments


  1. Is Automattic just shutting down the SFO office for good? Or do they have plans to relocate to a cheaper area in the west coast?

    Phoenix, AZ is not a bad place :)

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  2. Sorry to hear this but understand the economics, especially if they own the space. I’ve attended various SF WordPress meetups in the space.

    I wonder if the company until the building is sold, could rent out space like a WeWork but just for WordPress folks. Not sure if there is demand or the regulations involved. Just a thought as someone who commutes from the Peninsula a couple times a month and looks for a safe place to work while waiting for meetings.

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  3. Hi,

    Pedantic Police here :-)

    At the bottom of your article you said, “One in Cape Town, Africa”. While not technically incorrect, it’s a bit like saying San Francisco, North America or Berlin, Europe. You should rather say, “Cape Town, South Africa”. The way you have it now reinforces the misconception that Africa is a country instead of a continent.

    Feel free to ignore me and do something more important with your life :-)

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  4. Why did Matt even begin to imagine needing all that space and buying that property instead of leasing it, at least until he got his plans together? Was the distributed network of employees an accident? And why not lease it now that it’s bought and fully renovated instead of selling it outright? Is this his decision or his board’s? So many questions with this guy that are never answered…

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  5. The WPSFO Meetup has enjoyed using the space as our primary meeting location and we’ll miss it for sure. While it’s a beautiful space and it’s been great to meet there, it is giant and swallows up our groups of 20-50 people.

    If you’re in the area, we are having at least one more meetup at Automattic on May 10@7pm (https://www.meetup.com/wordpress-sf/events/231396590). It’s a great chance to experience the space before it’s gone.

    And big thanks to Allyson Klein, the Automattic Lounge and Events Manager. She has made hosting there an easy thing.

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