Just six months ago, Gov. Greg Abbott and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi were in town for a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new hub in Deep Ellum. In late January, the company was ramping up its efforts to hire folks, as it prepared to bring 3,000 jobs to Dallas. Now? In two rounds of layoffs just weeks apart, Uber has cut about one-quarter of its workforce, close to 7,000 jobs, and it is shuttering 45 offices around the world. On Uber’s website, Dallas no longer even shows up on the drop-down menu when you search for job openings by location. And this Fortune article about what Uber will look like after the pandemic doesn’t make it sound like the company will need to hire a bunch of folks anytime soon.
Westdale is the owner and developer of The Epic, the multi-building campus on the east side of Deep Ellum where Uber was set to lease space. I asked Westdale’s president and CEO how this week’s layoffs would affect the project. “All we know is ramp-up hiring for Epic I will be revisited in early 2021,” Joe Beard emailed. “The delivery of Epic II is scheduled for May of 2022 and remains on schedule relative to construction.”
In August, when this Dallas Uber deal came to light, I spent some time in this space pointing out that some smart people thought then that the company’s business model was deeply flawed. With its AI and freight and self-driving car projects all on mothballs now, I don’t see how its Deep Ellum hub will ever come to fruition. Westdale is keeping its chin up, but surely they’ve got CBRE already shopping for a new signature tenant.