California Courier

Should San Francisco Allocate $1.7 Million to Build a Restroom?

The budget for this item was included in the state’s budget, costing tax-paying Californians $11,333 per square-ft.

The celebratory announcement was planned and ready to take place on Oct 19, when The San Francisco Chronicle spilled the beans that morning on the Noe Valley Town Square’s $1.7 million toilet build. California Assemblyman Matt Haney who got the funding into the state’s budget and approved by Governor Newsom, then cancelled the event as public reaction was swift.

To most, the cost was shocking. Not only was every Californian paying for this toilet by way of taxes, but some reacted by questioning why a public toilet costs $1.7 million to build.

The answer is: we don’t exactly know. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department says there isn’t a design for it yet. The project is still in the early stages of development.

Those responsible for its passage appeared to not have questioned the price of the build of a single 150 square-ft restroom until the cost was made public. The cost breaks down to about $11,333 per square-ft for the restroom.

The $1.7 million price tag quoted by the Recreation and Parks Department was not solely construction costs but estimates of anticipatory costs for architectural drawings, community feedback, a multi-phase review, an environmental review, union workers, and a final review by the Recreation and Parks Department. The toilet is estimated to take two years to build.

Governor Newsom, who according to Haney was advised of the budget in advance, now warns he may withhold the funding, in the hopes that the city can reevaluate and find a more efficient use of the funds.

It was suggested by someone knowledgeable in modular building that a high-end budget for a toilet this size would be $200,000.

Public Restroom Company delivered seven modular restrooms to Los Angeles for $1.7m.

Now Haney is back-stepping from his celebratory announcement planned last week to more sober tones. “Noe Valley should get a bathroom, but $1.7 million should pay for seven bathrooms, and it should happen much quicker.. “ Haney stated.

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