August 4, 2009

Additional Green Reserves To Satisfy Lenders For SFPUC's Green HQ

525 Golden Gate Avenue Renderings

"A committee hearing into the planned construction of a $190 million super-green San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters will be postponed, after officials decided to add $47.4 million in additional appropriations....the cash reserve needs to be appropriated and squirreled away to satisfy the requirements of lenders...."

Hearing delay for SFPUC's ultragreen HQ [San Francisco Examiner]
Laying The Foundation For An "Ultra-Green" 525 Golden Gate Avenue [SocketSite]

First Published: August 4, 2009 7:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Er, isn't there a glut of office space in SF right now? Wouldn't this be a good time to negotiate a 30 year lease instead of doing trophy construction (for a freaking comittee)?

Posted by: Delancey at August 4, 2009 10:15 AM

This is a complete waste of taxpayer $$.

Delancy is right, there is plenty of surplus office space, some of it even City owned, which would be a lot cheaper than new construction.

Posted by: Mystery Realtor at August 4, 2009 10:45 AM

wait a minute. what I'm hearing is that a utility company (owned by SF in this case) should start making business decisions based upon the latest boom/bust cycle we currently find ourselves in? Wheel and deal and try and get in on the the next best great "deal"?

or should they make a capital investment that will be utilized for the next 50-100 years, financed at a very low interest rate that improves their ability to deliver service?

the people who supply MY water should be housed in a building that will remain operable after a major earthquake, will offer savings on energy consuption over a long life (to save the taxpayer money), and be thoughtfuly designed to last this long 50-100yr life.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Posted by: obro at August 4, 2009 11:30 AM

The city could have bought 333 Bush http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2009/07/333_bush_bought_for_281_million_in_2007_now_going_back.html for a fairly similar price. It will also remain operable in an earthquake, and is much larger with lots of empty space right now.

Posted by: flaneur at August 4, 2009 12:41 PM

although I do not have insight into the structural design of either building, I do not believe 333 Bush street was designed to anything above code specified performance (collapse prevention in major earthquake, NOT fully operable after a major earthquake) but I have an inkling that the SFPUC building will be deemed an essential facility and will be desgned to remain operable post-Big One. I guess we won't know until the Big One hits or until the structural engineers on either project can tell us otherwise.
But I hope the city of San Fransisco is able to get the water running as quickly as possible when it does occur. This is worth $200 million, spread over 50 years worth of water bills to me.

Posted by: obro at August 4, 2009 2:52 PM

Can't they just put Hetch Hetchey up as collateral?

Posted by: OneEyedMan at August 4, 2009 3:50 PM

Say whatever else you want about it, this building will be a huge asset on a derelict block of empty storefronts, weedy lots and crumbling buildings. I was never so happy to see a building raised as when the former occupant of this site began coming down and I will be equally happy seeing something this nice go up in its place. Then it they would only demolish everything else on both sides of Golden Gate between Van Ness and Polk.

Posted by: BT at August 5, 2009 2:06 AM

Obro -- you are confusing an office building with water running -- the water will run if the plants are running and the mains remain intact. This building houses engineer and bureaucrats that that do office work: hire vendors, write up 10 year master plans, design changes to treatment plants, inspect facilities, and hold endless meetings. They could be moved to any other office building without interrupting the flow of water.

Now if SF had the ability to print money, I would say go for it, as I believe in counter-cyclical spending -- but seeing as how that is not the case, this is a colossal waste in ego-building at a time when the city can't afford it.

Posted by: Robert at August 5, 2009 2:56 PM

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