BOULDER — At office parks scattered around the country, Twitter Inc. — under the erratic leadership of billionaire Elon Musk, who bought the social-media platform for $44 billion in October — has stopped paying its rent. Among the landlords that the company owes is the local owner of Twitter’s Boulder offices on Walnut Street.
A “demand for compliance or right to possession notice” was posted on the door of the Wencel Building at 1301 Walnut St. this month by attorneys representing landlord W.W. Reynolds Cos. That letter, the posting of which is a required part of Boulder County’s eviction process, shows that Twitter owes just under $179,000 in back rent. Monthly rent at the Walnut Street offices is nearly $120,000.
It’s unclear whether Twitter still occupies any space at the Wencel Building, which it has leased for about six years. Within the three-floor building, 36,748 square feet was available for lease this year, according to a marketing brochure from commercial real estate firm Cresa.
Brokers and Twitter representatives declined to comment on the social media company’s Boulder presence in May and again declined or could not be reached for this report.
Twitter gained a Boulder presence in early 2014 with its acquisition of Gnip and doubled its headcount to around 200 in 2016 with The Wencel Building lease, which provided space for an app development team.
The company then, in 2020, leased another 65,000 square feet in the S’Park neighborhood in central Boulder, which was still under construction at the time.
No demand for compliance or right to possession notice was visible last week at Twitter’s S’Park offices. Representatives with S’Park’s developer and owner did not respond to requests for comment.
It’s unknown whether Twitter owes back rent at its other Boulder operations, but it appears possible.
“To cut costs, Twitter has not paid rent for its San Francisco headquarters or any of its global offices for weeks,” the New York Times reported last week. The newspaper also revealed that Twitter leaders have “instructed employees to not pay vendors in anticipation of potential litigation.”
Musk’s tenure at the helm of Twitter has been disruptive to Boulder operations.
In early November, Musk vowed to slash as many as half of Twitter’s global workforce, and on Nov. 4 it was revealed that 87 Boulder employees had been laid off.
A few weeks later, BizWest discovered that another 38 workers — mostly engineers and designers — resigned from Twitter after Musk’s takeover.
Boulder Chamber president John Tayer said last month that he believed the number of Twitter employees in Boulder was less than 200, adding that those who had lost their jobs is “hard to quantify” at this point because so much of the company’s workforce works remotely. He said he understood from his contacts within the company that it is “cutting by program.”
In reference to the office square footage that Twitter still maintained as of last month, Tayer said that he doesn’t “know now how they’ll deal with that space.”
He said previously that the laid-off workforce would likely find new homes at tech companies in Boulder, given the community’s low unemployment rate and the high demand for skilled workers.