The new public bathrooms within the Depot building at 87 Throckmorton Avenue.

PictureThe location of the public bathrooms within the Depot building.

In 1984, then-Mill Valley Mayor Richard “Dick” Jessup, who designed the Depot Plaza, first sketched out a downtown public bathroom location on the plaza. Over the following 37 years, loo seekers had options in downtown Mill Valley, from the bathroom within City Hall and at Mill Valley Market to those at various restaurants and cafes, including an oft-awkward lineup that snaked through the Depot’s dining area. and restaurants downtown. 

But as of this week, there are officially a pair of public, ADA-accessible bathrooms located on the north-eastern side of the Depot building. They will be open in the daytime, 7 days a week, city officials say.

Momentum picked up in 2014, when it was regularly discussed and city officials reviewed a range of location options before fully budgeting the project in 2015. In 2018, the City Council approved Depot Bookstore & Cafe owner Paul Lazzareschi’s planned renovation of the city-owned building and included the bathroom project within it. 

The Depot first closed for the renovation in March 2019, and the fencing that heralded the beginning of construction went up in late DecemberThe delay was largely triggered by expansive negotiations between the City and Lazzareschi over the financial details of the project, i.e., who was going to pay for each of its specific components, as well as turnover among investors. Lazzareschi, who also owns Vasco restaurant across the street from the Depot, first put forward plans soon after he and then-partner Gary Rulli bought the business in 2016 from the family of the late Mary Turnbull, who founded the famed bookstore and cafe with her husband William Turnbull in 1987 and died in September 2015.

In May 2020, when the Depot project was deemed essential construction amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the construction of the bathrooms and overall building renovation resumed.

And now, to the intestinal delight of legions of downtown Mill Valley shoppers, strollers and post-COVID gatherers and lingerers, we have a pair of public bathrooms.

What a relief!

Questions? Email the City’s Department of Public Works here or call 415.384.4800

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