Posts Tagged ‘Seattle toilets’

Seattle toilets: Going, going, gone

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Seattle’s five automated toilets are on the road. The toilets were loaded onto flat-bed trucks last night and are en route to an Ebay auction winner who paid $12,500 for the toilets that have set Seattle back $5 million.

Toilets being loaded onto trucks outside Victor Steinbrueck park

The German-made Hering-Bau toilets cost about $544,000 each to install and about $128,000 to maintain. In some other cities using the toilets, those costs are offset by selling ads on and within the units. Seattle law precluded posting ads on our units.

The high maintenance costs and problems with drug use and prostitution meant the toilets had to go after only five years of use.

They were first listed on eBay in mid-July with a minimum bid of $89,000 each. There were no bidders.

The toilets were re-listed Aug. 4 with no minimum bids.

Comparable new units are now selling for around $200,000.

The city council overrode a mayoral veto in 2001 to install the toilets throughout downtown. But a report released in March said the toilets are the least cost-effective way for the city to provide public restrooms and said they were magnets for illegal activity.

Racecar Supply of Rochester won all five auctions, according to the Associated Press. The owner told an AP reporter that two of the units will grace the South Sound Speedway. He plans to sell the other three.

They’ve gotta go: Seattle toilets back on Ebay

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Seattle’s five automated toilets are back on Ebay.

And this time, they’re priced for quick movement: The highest one (Capitol Hill’s) is now at $1,025 and the lowest (the waterfront’s) is at $449 with a little over seven days to go.

Pioneer Square's toilet is now at $1,025

The German-made Hering-Bau toilets are being removed by the city because of maintenance costs and problems with drug use and prostitution.

They were first listed on Ebay July 15 with a minimum bid of $89,000 each. There were no bidders.

Comparable new units are now selling for around $200,000, said Hugh O’Neill, Hering International’s North American sales director.

Pat Miller, who handles disposal of public property for the city, said at least 20 cities are in the market for the automatic toilets. The single-stall stainless steel units are accessible and have sensors for hand-washing and flushing. They are designed to seal their doors to clean the floor and toilet after every flush, and to prevent people from entering while in use.

The city council overrode a mayoral veto in 2001 to get the toilets installed throughout the downtown area for use by tourists, shoppers and the homeless.

But a report released in March said the toilets are the least cost-effective way for the city to provide public restroom services and said they were magnets for illegal activity. Read more about it at DJC.com.

Kudos to Citizen Rain for catching this one first.

On Ebay this week: Seattle’s toilets

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Sad to see Seattle’s futuristic stainless steel toilets flushed from our streets? Then bid for them on Ebay!

Five automatic toilets being removed by the city because of maintenance costs and problems with drug use and prostitution will be listed on Ebay within the next week.

toilet_closeup_web.jpg
Insert toilet humor here

The German-made Hering-Bau toilets are being listed separately with a minimum bid of $89,000 each, said Pat Miller, who handles disposal of public property for the city. Comparable new units are now selling for around $200,000, said Hugh O’Neill, Hering International’s North American sales director.

Miller said Seattle has received some inquiries in recent weeks from prospective buyers but none serious enough to move forward with. He said at least 20 cities are in the market for automatic toilets.

The single-stall stainless steel units are accessible and have sensors for hand-washing and flushing. They are designed to seal their pneumatic doors to clean the floor and toilet after every flush, and to prevent people from entering while in use.

The city council overrode a mayoral veto in 2001 to get the toilets installed throughout the downtown area for use by tourists, shoppers and the homeless.

But a report released in March said the toilets are the least cost-effective way for the city to provide public restroom services and said they were magnets for illegal activity. Read more about it at DJC.com.

The toilets cost about $544,000 to install and about $128,000 in annual operations and maintenance costs. In some other cities using the toilets, those costs were offset by advertisements posted on and within the units. Seattle law precluded the ads on our units.

O’Neill said Seattle is the first city he’s seen vote to remove the toilets. Most other U.S. cities offset their costs with advertisements, O’Neill said, and many European cities install the toilets as pay units to cover costs.

Toilets were recently installed in Los Angeles and are soon to be installed in Toronto, O’Neill said. Other cities with the toilets include Detroit, New York and Atlanta.

More than 3,000 of Ebay’s current auctions feature the word “toilet,” but Miller said he thinks Seattle’s Hering-Baus will be the only ones of their kind listed.

The city is holding a hearing at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23 at City Hall to get public feedback on the sale. The toilets will be listed on 20 day auctions by city consultant bidaloo.