If William Randolph Hearst were both a green-technology nut and alive, he might find much to like with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s proposed $346 million green technology Playboy Mansion new headquarters, funding of which cleared a Board of Supervisors Committee on Wednesday.

The 13-story, glass-heavy monument to water filtration, glass and — uh, from what we can tell — glass has been covered much in local media, so we won’t reinvent the windmill here, except to reiterate: it’s been a pet project of Gavin Newsom’s since it was announced in 2007, it replaces a vacant lot at 525 Golden Gate which in turn replaced a long-vacant state building, and it will allow the SFPUC to move out of leased office space on Market Street — thereby SAVING YOU MONEY since your water bill will no longer be paying off someone else’s rent (though to be sure, such environmentally-friendly San Simeons do not come free).

Again, much has been already covered heavily — such as the scaling-back of the original plans because, believe it or not, amenities like magic moving windows and windmills on every floor are a wee bit expensive — but a few points warrant mention:

  • Most media reports tabulate the building’s cost at $190 million. The real cost is closer to $346 million, according to the Budget Analysts Office (that includes debt service). $346 million for a building sounds like a lot, but consider — the PUC estimates leasing its current office space for the next 30 years would run them $380 million. $60 million — oh, the SAVINGS!
  • The city didn’t spend much to acquire the site, mind — and in fact profited heavily (sorta). After Loma Prieta damaged the old state building at 525 Golden Gate, the state sold the site, janky-ass building included, for $2.00, which the city then flipped to its own Public Utilities Commission for $9.9 million (plus a tall, cool glass of Hetch-Hetchy H20 with ice). Nice flip, SF.
  • The building will include a child-care center. What, you were expecting SFPUC’s wee tykes to work in the on-site coal mine?
  • Design is not yet final, according to memos presented to the Board, but will include a 1,500-square foot Slow Food Cafe. Windmill-powered pulled pork sandwiches? As long as it’s served on glass!

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