What’s taking so long to build FPL offices in Palm Beach Gardens?


Florida Power & Light is asking the city to extend its deadline to build offices and a helipad north of PGA Boulevard, a plan that was approved three years ago.

The Juno Beach-based utility company is asking the city for an extension to get additional building permits by the end of 2019. FPL wants more time to evaluate its plans, spokesman Bill Orlove said.

“We’re still determining the best needs for the company and deciding how we’re going to move forward with the project,” he said. “By having these extensions, that allows us more time to do that.”

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FPL has done some landscaping and made other changes at the site between Interstate 95 and Alternate A1A north of PGA Boulevard, Orlove said. They’re also installing irrigation lines.

As it stands, construction is supposed to be completed by Dec. 31, 2017, according to Palm Beach Gardens. FPL is asking the city to extend for two years.

The City Council in July 2013 unanimously approved a master plan that allows FPL to develop 913,000 square feet of office space and a helipad on 51 acres south of Kyoto Gardens Drive, what’s known as Parcel 5A.

Office buildings, which could be as tall as 12 to 15 stories, require site plan approval from the city. Only the master plan has been approved so far.

FPL’s Juno Beach headquarters were nearing capacity with about 2,500 employees when the master plan was approved. The next month, however, brought an announcement that positions would be cut across FPL and sister company NextEra Energy Resources over two years to reduce spending by $75 million.

NextEra Energy Inc., FPL’s parent company, has about 4,000 employees countywide, according to the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.

Orlove said FPL bought the property during a downturn in the market, recognizing it as a long-term investment benefiting customers. The company paid Seacoast National Bank $24 million in 2011 after the bank took the property from a company headed by developer Dan Catalfumo. Catalfumo bought it in 1999 as part of the land selloff by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The master plan for the site also includes a 4.25-acre parcel facing Military Trail, where Spearfisher Partners has permission to build 80,000 square feet of office space. Catalfumo’s company transferred the land to Spearfisher in 2009.


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