PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Florida Power & Light is looking to grow in Palm Beach Gardens, and its plan relies heavily on employees driving electric vehicles.
With construction of an office building for 1,000 employees on Interstate 95 and PGA Boulevard complete, FPL has submitted plans to the city for a second, nearly identical building on the same site.
The building would be six stories — like its twin — with a three-story parking garage, online news website OnGardens.org reported this week.
But there’s a catch.
The plan is based on counting 150 electric vehicle charging stations in the parking garage as parking spaces to meet the city ordinance requirements to provide 700 parking spaces. FPL notes that it has 122 charging stations at its Juno Beach headquarters.
A site plan review, requested in March, could take a year and requires city council approval. The 249,000-square-foot building could take another two years to construct.
Work on the first building began in 2020 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. FPL received city approval in 2013 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, meaning there’s plenty of room for the NextEra Energy subsidiary to expand.
Aside from EV charging stations, Chicago-based designers Perkins & Will and West Palm Beach-based land planner Urban Design Studio list “sustainability measures” including using native plants on 90% of the landscape and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
The building will also use renewable energy from a photovoltaic array, which is a series of solar panels wired together that also provide shade on the roof of the parking level.
But FPL isn’t completely abandoning the gas nozzle.
The company, which already has permission to build a helipad on the east side of Building 1, wants to add an above-ground solid fuel system on the southwest corner to refuel company vehicles during storms. The service station will include a 3,000-gallon, double-walled steel tank with two pumps.
Both buildings are designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes and provide a stage for FPL vehicles during storms. The first floor of the parking garages will be high enough to accommodate trucks.
FPL is paying to lay a water main that traverses the site and connect it to the existing water main about a fifth of a mile away, a project that relies on horizontally oriented drilling to pass under the railroad tracks and alternate A1A.
The utility also paid to move RCA Center Drive about 260 feet west to allow enough room to add a traffic signal if needed.