We heard a couple months ago that plans for the new but not-to-be Public Utilities Commission building were on hold; rumor had it that the high cost of wind turbines and photovoltaics glued all over the surface of the shiny 14-story, 221,830 square foot, LEED-certified building had sunk the project. (Which had been set for a March 2008 groundbreaking.) But what's the real backstory? Perhaps that Gavin Newsom, after trumpeting the sustainable wonders of the new SFPUC building at a Congressional hearing, got stood up on the project by his own hire, Ed Harrington. After replacing ousted director Susan Leal, Harrington decided the wunderbuilding, for all its symbolic leadership in energy savings, would cost rate-payers too much— and would probably piss them off a bit if the city ever decided to raise rates. It was, in the end, a preemptive face-save (although not so much for Gavin). The PUC may still get a "modest green-tinted" building, or a green-retrofitted old building. Our question: what about the greenhouses?
· PUC's green dreams fade as budget sees red [SF Gate]
· New PUC Not To Be [Curbed SF]
· Rebuilt: SF Public Utilities Commission H.Q. [Curbed SF]