Cost of SF's proposed $1.7M public toilet significantly reduced with donations

Two companies will now gift a modular restroom to the city, which should be in place by the end of summer.

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Friday, January 27, 2023
Cost of SF's proposed $1.7M public toilet reduced with donations
The price of San Francisco's $1.7 million toilet planned for Noe Valley has been significantly reduced, thanks to donations by two companies.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Remember the controversy over that expensive, $1.7 million toilet the city wanted to build in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood? Since then, the price has significantly gone down.

It was only on Wednesday that residents were in a tizzy over the excessive cost of a one toilet bathroom facility at the Noe Valley Town Square.

"Put it to better use. It's ridiculous. $1.7 million for a stupid bathroom," that was a resident interviewed in Oct. 2022.

As the old adage goes, "Where there's a will, there's a way," and the city has found a way to build it for a lot less, thanks to the generosity of two companies that have decided to donate a modular restroom with labor included and a few extra features.

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"The door handle is treated so it's antimicrobial," explained Chad Kaufman, owner of Public Restroom Company who is gifting the restroom to San Francisco.

The sink is also on the outside making the space inside small enough to deter anyone from sleeping inside.

"I just wanted to show why modular prefabrication solutions are cost effective and easier," added Kaufman.

In other words, he told us, he wants the publicity. The donation saves the city $425,000.

Public Restroom Company has similar projects throughout California, but Kaufman is not allowed to "sell" this bathroom in San Francisco.

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The company is located in Nevada, one of 22 states banned by San Francisco for their abortion, LGBTQ+ rights and voting rights. But while San Francisco can't do business with these companies, they can get a gift.

People around here are sincerely grateful for that donation.

"It's really nice to have a bathroom here. We're a bunch of senior citizens who hang out here on Thursdays and have a little chat group. When you got to go, you gotta go," said Josh Koral, a Noe Valley resident.

It will only take a week to install the pre-fabricated bathroom which should be in place by the end of the summer.

The Recreation and Park Department still has to dish out $300,000 for other costs like landscaping design, permits and environmental reviews.

"Staff time, permits fees architecture and engineering required to make sure everything works and fits together," explained Sarah Madland of the Recreation and Park Department.

So really, the total price tag is $725,000 with San Francisco only paying a portion of that.

That leaves San Francisco with extra money from that initial state grant of $1.7 million which, Rec and Park says will now go to deliver "relief" in the form of bathrooms to other locations starting with Precita Park in Bernal Heights.

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