June 16, 2009
Laying The Foundation For An "Ultra-Green" 525 Golden Gate Avenue
Placed "on hold" a year ago due to rising costs and "lower than expected efficiencies," but now angling for some stimulus funds too, it’s a plugged-in tipster that catches the crews at work on 525 Golden Gate Avenue:
Crews from [Malcolm] Drilling are hard at work on the site. I asked one of them whether their being there meant the new building was proceeding and the answer was, "Yes, we are shoring for the foundation because the foundation for the new building is deeper than the old one." I could see what appeared to be a dewatering tank of the sort used to keep deep foundation excavations dry.
The earthquake-damaged and twenty-years vacant building that once stood on the site was recently razed (much to the chagrin of Trader Vic's next door), and as permitted a 12-story "ultra-green" San Francisco Public Utilities building is proposed to rise.
First Published: June 16, 2009 11:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
It's good for the environment and the economy to take the earned wealth of taxpayers to build an unnecessary office building for a bunch of public employees?
Posted by: Anon at June 16, 2009 11:26 AM
what the heck are you talking about? is it better to lease space from landlords who squeeze money out of the City? that is the WORST use of taxpayer money -- having the government be a tenant always subject to the whims of the market and landlords who see the City as deep pockets. It's not like the City can pick up and move its employees to Fremont or China or even other parts of the City remote from City Hall and other city agencies.
Posted by: WTF at June 16, 2009 12:01 PM
All city employees need a gold-plated Class A office space to do their very important work in, while the entrepreneurs who pay taxes to fund this can make do with whatever Class C (or worse) space is available to them at an affordable price.
Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at June 16, 2009 12:13 PM
$188 million pays a lot of rent. Not to mention that office space in SF is going begging. Not to further mention I expect that the property will become tax-exempt.
It's the gov't that see taxpayers as having the deep pockets.
n.b. as a former employee of a utility regulatory commission (not the SF PUC), I will hazard a guess that for every person that does actual work one person is taking up space.
Posted by: Anon at June 16, 2009 12:27 PM
"I expect that the property will become tax-exempt. "
that property has been tax exempt for a long time. It was a state office building that was abandoned. I believe it was "sick" building, that is it had environmental health issues that could not be rectified.
I bet you all think that 150 years ago, rather than building a City Hall and setting aside land for other government buildings (e.g. libraries)that the city should just have rented spaces? The city would still be renting today, rather than paying no rent, thus freeing up money for other public uses.
If you only think about the next 30 years, nothing should ever gets built. same holds true for other infrastructure - subways, bridges, etc. Yeah, it costs a lot to build, but the investment pays itself off for generations and generations. This is not like buying a house. Even if you live in it your whole life, the most utility and financial benefit you'll get out of it is maybe 50 years. The government has core functions that persist for generations. Unless for some reason these functions were to no longer be necessary -- providing water, processing building permits, running a park system, operating buses -- the public is better off putting their money into long term infrastructure than to indefinitely rent space.
I know for a fact that the vast majority of city employees do not have class A offices. Most are housed in sad and shabby 1960s to 1980s buildings in the civic center area that the City bought or continues to lease.
Posted by: hmmm at June 16, 2009 2:02 PM
Equating this proposed gold-plated, err, "green" boondoggle with investment in roads, bridges, etc, is a a straw-man argument that doesn't deserve a response.
Interesting to note that last fall 235 Pine changed hands at $56.5 mill (149K sq. ft., class A)(BTW, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court was the anchor tenant). This was shortly after the PUC Chief said the Commission couldn't afford to build the aforementioned boondoggle. Amazing what a little OPM will do.
Posted by: Anon at June 16, 2009 2:29 PM