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Twitter HQ Landlord Paid San Francisco Over $4,000 In Fees After Musk’s Team Installed ‘X’ Sign On Roof


Topline

The landlord of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters paid the city $4,447 in fees this week after the social media company—now known as X—constructed and hastily removed a glowing “X” sign atop its roof, the city told Forbes, as billionaire Elon Musk’s surprise rebrand of the platform draws scrutiny from both users and local permitting officials.

Key Facts

Property owner Shorenstein had to pay the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and city Planning Department $3,686 in enforcement fees after the sign was constructed and removed without initially consulting the departments, DBI spokesperson Patrick Hannan told Forbes.

A permit for the removal of the sign, which was allowed to be secured after it was taken down this Monday, cost the landlord another $761—that permit covers all the work performed on the sign, including its construction, Hannan noted.

The sign was removed Monday, a few days after the city sent the property owner a notice claiming its construction was unpermitted and presented safety issues.

“Once the permit is completed the notice of violation will be abated,” Hannan told Forbes, meaning the city won’t pursue further action.

Musk and Shorenstein could not be reached for a comment.

Surprising Fact

Musk mocked the building’s landlord last week, claiming it called law enforcement about the sign. The billionaire has clashed with the property owner before: It sued the social media firm this December and last January over claims Musk’s company did not pay around $3.4 million in rent for both months.

Key Background

The X logo was put atop the Market Square headquarters last Friday and provoked an investigation from the city of San Francisco. An inspector visited the building that day and Saturday but was denied access to the roof. He was told the structure was “a temporary lighted sign for an event,” according to a department filing. A notice of violation was issued against the property owner before the sign’s removal. More than a week ago, workers also removed several letters from the Twitter sign attached to the side of the building, but police interrupted the work due to confusion about permitting and because the property owners weren’t informed of the sign change, according to the San Francisco Standard and a local NBC station. Musk has faced pressure for various other changes to the building. Former Twitter employees alleged in a lawsuit that management ordered them to make unsafe modifications to company office space that violated local and federal laws. The alleged violations were investigated by the Department of Building Inspection, though it is unclear what became of them. The company also installed bedrooms for employees in its offices shortly after Musk bought Twitter last year, prompting the city to investigate whether it was complying with building codes.

Tangent

Musk’s rebrand of Twitter into X, less than a year after he bought the company for $44 billion, signals the start of Musk’s transition into making X an “everything app” that includes far more features than posting for followers and messaging friends. The shift has accompanied a range of other sudden and often-controversial changes for the social media platform: Musk has loosened the site’s content moderation rules, lifted a ban on former President Donald Trump and offered up blue verification checkmarks to paying users.

Further Reading

‘X’ Sign Abruptly Removed From Twitter HQ Following Complaints (Forbes)

Glowing X Logo Above Twitter HQ Triggers Latest Conflict Between Musk And San Francisco (Forbes)

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