San Francisco public bathroom as soon as priced at $1.7M opens to fanfare, reduction for lowered price

People in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood celebrated the opening of a public toilet on Sunday that made headlines for its $1.7 million estimated cost before eventually being built for much less.

About 100 people packed Noe Valley Town Square to celebrate a brand-new bathroom that drew international mockery in 2022 for the astronomical price tag. The public outcry forced the city to flush that idea down the toilet.

“Noe Valley, let’s hear it for our ‘not-1.7-million-dollar-bathroom,'” declared event organizer Leslie Crawford to the cheering crowd.

Organizers decided to have some fun with the celebration with everything toilet-themed – even a live jazz band that renamed itself “American Standard” for the day.

“We couldn’t get Toto here, so …” laughed Crawford.  “When everybody laughs at you, you’ve got to take the power back and laugh at yourself.”

Crawford admitted San Francisco deserved all the poop it got when the city first announced the $1.7 million estimated cost to build the restroom.  People thought it was the perfect example of government waste.

It’s preposterous because the plumbing was already in the ground when they built this [town square] out,” said Noe Valley resident Todd Siemers.

“I thought it was a little ridiculous myself, everybody did,” added resident Linda Maes.

A private company ended up donating a prefab bathroom. But the costs still added up to $200,000. The city said union workers had to connect the plumbing and build out other infrastructure to get it ready.

We asked the folks who used it, how did it go?

“I’m flushed with excitement that they have a bathroom now,” said resident Zach D’Angelo. “And it gets a 10 out of 10 from me.”

“It’s great, it’s a relief,” laughed Maes. “And we can relieve ourselves when we have to go. We don’t have to go to a [nearby] restaurant.”

“It was spacious and clean and wonderful,” said Siemers.

And Crawford is happy that there are no more bathroom jokes about San Francisco, at least for a short while.

“This is a great ending to our story,” said Crawford.

The city said the bathroom is about 50 square feet. It has a metal toilet and includes a baby changing station.

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