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Once estimated to cost $1.7 million, San Francisco’s long-mocked toilet is up and running

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Once estimated to cost $1.7 million, San Francisco’s long-mocked toilet is up and running


A San Francisco restroom once estimated to cost $1.7 million is now up and running for the public after the city received criticism, jokes and a generous donation.

San Francisco Recreation and Parks opened the single public restroom in the Noe Valley neighborhood after receiving a donation that cut the city’s cost to under $200,000, Daniel Montes, the city agency’s communication manager, told USA TODAY in an email.

“The bathroom has been well received by the Noe Valley community, and we’re happy to finally provide some relief for parkgoers,” Montes said.

Public Restroom Company’s and Volumetric Building Companies’ donations equate to a combined $425,000 and include a prefabricated modular restroom and all associated installation work, the city agency said in a January 2023 news release. Public Restroom Company, a Nevada-based business, also donated a toilet previously used for demonstration purposes in trade shows.

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“The gift also allows Rec and Park to save approximately $491,000 in design, construction management and other regulatory and design review costs,” according to the release.

San Francisco Rec and Park criticized for $1.7 million restroom

Before the donation, the city received criticism from community members who thought the restroom would be paid entirely by state funding, San Francisco Rec and Park said in the release. The initial “rough estimate” for the custom-designed and custom-built restroom at Noe Valley Town Square was $1.7 million with a two-year timeline, according to the city agency.

The donation will save the city $115,500 on construction, $91,800 in project management fees and $90,000 in architecture and engineering fees, San Francisco Rec and Park said.

“We are thrilled to accept this generous donation, which will allow us to deliver this important project to the Noe Valley community,” Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco Rec and Park, said in the release. “… It’s not easy navigating the city’s contracting and construction process, which of course is of small consolation when your 2-year-old needs a diaper change. We will fully support efforts by our city’s leaders to make small public works projects like this one − which aren’t always saved by philanthropy − less costly and more efficient to deliver.”

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Bill Maher, San Francisco residents find humor in the installation of $1.7 million restroom

Although the city received a donation to cover some expenses, the public and celebrities still made jokes about a restroom estimated to cost $1.7 million.

Comedian Bill Maher spoke about the bathroom in February 2023 on his talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which he reposted on Facebook. He called San Francisco the “poop capital of the world” and said the problem he has with the government is that it does not disclose other expenses needed for projects which “sucks the money out of America.”

One commenter under Maher’s clip on Facebook joked about cashing out on the new restroom.

“Imma gonna use it, slip and fall, and sue the city for $14 million,” the commenter said.

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San Francisco residents even found the idea of a $1.7 million toilet humorous when they held the “Toilet Bowl” on Sunday to commemorate the bathroom’s installation.

“We wanted to, you know, really roll with it,” Zach D’Angelo, dressed as a giant roll of toilet paper with a red plunger as his hat, told the New York Times at the event. D’Angelo stepped away from hosting trivia at a pub down the street to be the event’s emcee, or what he called “the Grand Poobah,” the outlet reported.

“I am flush with excitement!” D’Angelo told the outlet, before he began telling toilet jokes his 7-year-old nephew came up with.



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San Francisco, CA

PIX Now evening edition 5-27-24

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PIX Now evening edition 5-27-24


PIX Now evening edition 5-27-24 – CBS San Francisco

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CBS News Bay Area evening edition headlines for Monday, May 27, 2024. Watch full newscasts streamed at the CBS SF website or on the app.

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San Francisco, CA

San Francisco? Wine Country? Four Seasons Hotels Wants You to See Both

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San Francisco? Wine Country? Four Seasons Hotels Wants You to See Both


It always surprises me when people who love California tell me they haven’t been to Napa Valley. Wine country isn’t just some dreamy Bay Area side trip; it’s a quintessential piece of the culture and economy, shaping the very lifestyle and spirit of the region. Skipping Napa is like visiting San Francisco without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or biting into a slice of sourdough; you’re not getting the total package.

An immersive new travel experience at two Four Seasons properties brings together the very best of San Francisco and Napa on an itinerary that mixes dining, imbibing, and sightseeing for a one-of-a-kind city-to-country adventure. In just a few glorious days (the length is up to you), the trip lays to rest the idea that the Bay Area is stuck in a downward coil of urban despair and economic struggle, sometimes referred to as the “doom loop.”

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Since its days as a gold rush settlement and through various culture waves and tech booms and busts, San Francisco has always been a comeback town, and signs show it’s on the rebound once again. Take the area around the iconic TransAmerica building, where a series of public open spaces is set to open later this year with new restaurants, shops, lounges, activities and a sky bar.

A few blocks away, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero plays a big part of the revitalization. Occupying the top 11 floors of a 48-story landmark tower, the hotel opened in 2020 (it closed during the pandemic and reopened in June 2021) with head-spinning panoramas of the city and San Francisco Bay. The property, one of two Four Seasons hotels in San Francisco (the other is on Market Street), is both a refuge from urban life and a celebration of it. The views remind you of what makes San Francisco an enchanted place, and the hotel knows how to showcase the city at its finest.

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The hotel connects guests on outings with art photographer Adam Jacobs who shows how to “make” photos rather than just “take” them. He reveals the best vantage points to view city landmarks and the bay beyond, with tips on how to capture it all in the right light. If that’s splashy enough, Adventure Cat Sailing Adventures partners with the hotel on a 1.5-hour sunset sail aboard a catamaran from Pier 39 to the Golden Gate Bridge, as evening lights up the skyline.

It’s a ten-minute walk from the hotel to Quince, a three-star Michelin restaurant that last year opened a more “approachable” salon, featuring an abbreviated tasting menu in an area with comfortable banquette seating. Or you can stay put at the Four Seasons and enjoy a flight of cocktails at the ground-floor Italian restaurant Orafo, which makes its pasta in-house and procures its meats and produce from local farms.

The city-to-country program kicks off for real with a limousine transfer to Four Seasons Resort & Residences Napa Valley in Calistoga. Open since 2021, the lush and scenic retreat on 22 acres has 85 guest rooms, two pools, two restaurants (including one with a Michelin star), a bocce ball court, a fitness center, an eight-room spa and its own boutique vineyard.

Those vines aren’t just for show. The 4.7-acre vineyard is part of an onsite, organically farmed winery, Elusa, where winemaker Jonathan Walden collaborates with legendary winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown on a carefully crafted selection of outstanding red wines. Hotel guests can enjoy an entire barrel room and tasting experience without ever leaving the property; and all in time for dinner, either at the farm-to-table restaurant Truss, or at Calistoga’s only Michelin-starred dining spot, Auro. Chef Rogelio Garcia, who worked alongside Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, runs Auro’s pleasantly relaxed kitchen with precision and playfulness. One amuse bouche dish — the chef’s take on eggnog — is served in an eggshell, laser-cut as a mini bowl and suspended on a ceramic perch shaped like a chicken leg.

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Calistoga is celebrated for its geothermal hot springs and therapeutic mud baths, which are renowned for promoting healing and relaxation. At the Four Seasons spa, guests can unwind with treatments that feature mineral-rich mud, used in scrubs and massages designed to detoxify and soothe. The spa also has outdoor misting decks, steam rooms, and tranquility lounges, perfect for shedding worldly stresses. It’s hard to imagine a better spot for experiencing the unique and eclectic charms of the Bay Area, whether you prefer urban excitement, countryside tranquility or an indulgent blend of both.



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San Francisco, CA

Dead owner, disgraced official: Why this blighted theater sits empty after 17 years

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Dead owner, disgraced official: Why this blighted theater sits empty after 17 years


Over the years, multiple plans have been proposed for the theater, located at 2465 Mission St. between 20th and 21st streets, but none of them ever materialized. Now, after the structural engineer for the most recent plan went to prison—disgraced former city official Rodrigo Santos—and one of the two property owners died, the ruined theater’s future is uncertain.

“There’s no plans right now for the Tower Theater,” said Robert Cort, who co-owned the property with his mother, Vera Cort, until her death last month at age 82. “I’m not developing anything there. I’m just hoping someone will lease it and fill the space.”

Despite Cort’s hopes that someone will lease the property, he admitted it isn’t listed on the rental market. There are no listings online for the property. When The Standard visited the site on Wednesday, there were no signs advertising the space as available for lease.

Cort said that dealing with his late mother’s estate left him no time to sign a listing agreement for the theater.

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“There’s just so much going on,” he said.



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