New FPL building to sport 150 electric vehicle charging stations

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 1:20 PM EDT
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Florida Power & Light wants to grow bigger in Palm Beach Gardens, and its plan relies heavily on employees driving electric vehicles.

As it completes construction of a 1,000-employee office building at Interstate 95 and PGA Boulevard, FPL has submitted plans to the city for a second, nearly identical structure on the same site.

The building would be six stories — like its twin structure — with a three-story parking garage, the online news website OnGardens.org reported this week.

But there's a catch.

The plan relies on counting 150 EV charging stations in the parking garage as spaces to meet the city code requirement to provide 700 spaces. FPL points out that it has 122 charging stations at its Juno Beach headquarters.

A review of the site plan, requested in March, can take a year to obtain and will require city council approval. Construction of the 249,000-square-foot building could take another two years.

Work on the first building began in 2020 and is expected to be complete by the end of this year. FPL received permission in 2013 from the city to build nearly 1 million square feet of office space on the 86-acre site.

The second building would bring the total to about half that, meaning there's plenty of room for the NextEra Energy subsidiary to expand.

Aside from EV charging stations, designers Perkins & Will of Chicago and land planners Urban Design Studio of West Palm Beach list "sustainability measures" that include using native plants on 90% of the landscape and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

The building also will take advantage of renewable energy from a solar photovoltaic array, which is multiple solar panels wired together, that also will provide shade at the roof of the parking level.

But FPL is not completely giving up the gas nozzle.

The company, which already has permission to build a helicopter pad on the east side of Building 1, wants to add an above-ground fixed fuel system on the southwest corner to gas up company vehicles during storms. The fuel station will include a 3,000-gallon, double-walled steel tank with two dispensers.

Both buildings are designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes and provide staging for FPL vehicles during storms. The first floor of the parking structures will be tall enough to accommodate trucks.

FPL is paying to move a water main that crosses the site and connect it to the existing water main about a fifth of a mile away, a project relying on horizontal directional drilling to go under the railroad tracks and Alternate A1A.

The power company also paid to move RCA Center Drive about 80 yards west to leave enough space to add a traffic signal if needed.

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