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Beach Drive tower becomes a premier electric vehicle charging hub

Veronica Brezina

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An EverCharge electric vehicle charger in the 400 Beach Drive parking garage. Photo provided by Diana Geegan.

Electric vehicle drivers no longer have to seek out the limited charging stations in the area as over 50 chargers can be found inside the 400 Beach Drive condo tower, where Teslas and BMWs are powering up. 

The 29-story building in St. Petersburg has electric vehicle charging capabilities for all of its 93 residents – becoming a local power hub of electric vehicles. 

“The goal is to make 400 Beach Drive residents ready for future EVs [electric vehicles] and become the premier place,” said Louis Chenevert, a resident who helped lead the implementation for the charging stations. “It’s a big relief for those with EVs who have to find places to charge their vehicles. Now they don’t have that anxiety and can charge it as soon as they come home.”

Tesla vehicles are seen parked and charging inside the garage.

Chenevert is the former CEO of United Technologies Corporation. He was tapped to lead as chairman of the condo’s EV group, which is composed of two other residents and works with the condo’s management team. 

The plans for implementing charging stations emerged in 2019 when residents voiced support for installing stations. A study commenced and the results showed the tower could implement 38 EV stations; however, upon legal review, the condo association would have to make the stations available to all residents. The plans paused, but resumed in 2020 when the Chenevert-led committee formed. 

“I’m happy we moved swiftly and the residents embraced the vision,” Chenevert said.  

The committee received several bids for the infrastructure and ultimately selected Pinellas County-based Mark One Electric. 

Today, two garage floors have transformers to support the project. Out of the 61 parking spots with wiring, 51 have the chargers. 

The infrastructure for the chargers and panels is funded through an $8 to $20 monthly residential fee. The fee charged to the residents is based on the square footage of the condo owner’s unit.

Residents who want a breaker and charger pay $4,500. Meanwhile, residents who want to have the infrastructure in place and are station-ready pay $3,500, Chenevert said.

The association is working with California-based EverCharge, which specializes in EV chargers in multi-tenant buildings. The firm provides the chargers and has a key fob that’s linked to a person’s credit card so a resident can swipe the fob to start charging their vehicle. The chargers are then remitted quarterly to the association.  

“People are viewing the chargers as an asset that increases their property’s value,” he said, confident the remaining spaces that are charger-ready will become fully integrated in the near future. 

Diana Geegan, a realtor with Keller Williams Luxury International and resident of 400 Beach Drive, also spoke on the value it creates. 

“Beyond the need and demand for EV charging, there is an ROI associated with personally owning a charging station that is transferrable with your condo,” she said. “Being a luxury agent and working primarily with high net worth clients, I have personally seen this as a must-have item on their home purchase checklist.” 

Chenevert explained the association also upgraded the garage with needed WiFi service for the EVs. 

“WiFi in the garage is a must for electric cars that are downloading software updates,” Chenevert said. The average WiFi in the garage produces 120 to 150 mpbs (megabits per second).

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    Ric Heinert

    March 11, 2022at6:00 am

    Don’t most cars in this class have their own internet connection? With no need for internet connection installed in the garage? Mine works in our garage of a mid rise condo in Channelside. I am trying to get charging stations in our building. And I am on a committee in discovery phase to report back to the Board. I would Ike to talk with Louis Chenevert. Email me please. Richeinert@me.com our Property management is also First Service.

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