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Confirmed the location of the “Coming Soon” Gainesville Supercharger Station will be at Butler Plaza [Now Operational] (Public)

April 18, 2019 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE FOR PERIODIC UPDATES: (To view full-sized images, right click the image and open it in a new tab.)

As you may be aware, the Tesla Find Us web page has listed a “Coming Soon” Gainesville Supercharger Station for some time now. 

For those of you that live near Gainesville, please keep a lookout for Supercharger construction activity at Butler Town Center in Gainesville.  We have received credible, but unsubstantiated reports, that the future Gainesville Supercharger Station may be located there.

Butler Town Center is currently under construction. It is comprised of Butler Plaza and Butler North which are existing huge shopping areas that are strategically located right off of I-75. One of the new expansions is a Whole Foods grocery store which is due to open this month.  As you may know, there has been a recent trend for Supercharger Stations to be sited near Whole Foods locations. 

In attempting to confirm our suspicions that Butler Town Center might be the location of a new Supercharger Station, one of the members of the Tesla Motors Club forums contacted the mall management and received the following response:

While we can’t confirm the details, we are working with a charging station company to install stations at Butler since it is right off the busiest interstate exit in Gainesville—we too feel it’s a great fit! We can confirm however that Whole Foods has added car charging stations to their parking lot—which will charge any brand of car (technically—but maybe slow for Teslas).

We will be releasing all the details soon once the arrangement is fully finalized.”

Here’s a map of the location:

Update as of May 7, 2018:

I had a Facebook messenger exchange with Butler management. In response to my inquiry about the number of chargers at Whole Foods, their response was:

Shop at Butler Whole Foods has installed two electric car charging stations, and more announcements to come!

I believe that the "more announcements to come!" remark is likely to be an announcement about the Superchargers. It is Tesla's practice to ask their host locations not to reveal or confirm Supercharger locations until the installation is operational. So we shouldn't be unduly disappointed if the Butler folks couldn't expressly state that a Supercharger Station is coming. The fact that they consistently state that there are more announcements or more details coming, to me is a very good sign.

Update as of June 18, 2018.

One of our club members has located the official permit. As you can see the permit request was filed on June 1, 2018 and is for a 10 terminal Supercharger Station at the 3217 SW 35th Blvd, Gainesville, which is the main address for Butler Plaza North Town Center.  

Update as of December 11, 2018:

Butler Enterprises has stated that soon Butler Town Center in Gainesville will be hosting a Tesla Supercharger Station. They also invited our club members and the public to join them on December 8th at their First Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in which Santa arrived in style in a Tesla Model X.

The Gainesville Sun reported on the event and discussed the Supercharger Station.  Here are some excerpts from the article:

Tesla’s 10 charging stations are expected to be operational in January

Gainesville is a welcome pit stop for many motorists heading by on I-75, but soon Tesla drivers will have an option to recharge their vehicles as they shop.

Butler Enterprises announced Saturday during the Town Center holiday tree lighting that it has partnered with Tesla, which specializes in electric car manufacturing, to bring 10 Tesla Supercharger stations to Gainesville.

Mary Reichardt, Butler’s corporate director of marketing, said the charging stations will be located in the parking lot west of Whole Foods, 3490 Archer Road, and behind Chili’s.

Reichardt said the charging stations located in Butler Town Center will be “a convenient stop off the interstate” for traveling Tesla owners.

They will be the first Supercharger stations in Gainesville. The closest currently are in Lake City and Ocala...

...Tesla is now working with the city of Gainesville on permitting, and hopes to begin and complete the charger stations in January.

The Tesla announcement was made in holiday-fashion, Reichardt said, as a Santa arrived at the Butler Town Center block party in a Tesla Model X, which launched into a festive music and lights show.

Comment: The article states that Tesla hopes to start and complete the Supercharger Station in January.  While it may be possible to build a station in four weeks, in my opinion the likelihood of obtaining an approved permit, starting and completing construction and obtaining inspection approvals in just four weeks is extremely unlikely.  Note that Tesla's initial permit application expired on November 28, 2018.

After Tesla obtains a permit and breaks ground, for those living nearby, please check the parking lot east of the Bonefish Grill (in the red area of the map above) for signs of construction and send me high resolution photos of the progress.

Update as of February 12, 2019:

As of February 12, 2019, the online permitting system still does not yet show that a permit has been issued, but the permit application records show an email exchange that suggests permit approval is imminent. The email is an exchange between the Site Acquisition Manager with Black & Veatch, Tesla's engineering and construction firm that is responsible for designing, site assessment and permitting of Supercharger Stations, and the Gainesville Chief Plans Examiner. The Site Acquisition Manager is inquiring regarding the status of the building permit and the Plan Examiner is responding that he is working on the permit, but General Liability & Worker Comp Certificates for the Tesla contractor performing the work are still required.

One of our club members and members of the Tesla Motors Club (TMC) forums have provided photos showing the fencing, barricades, etc. in the location mentioned by Butler’s corporate director of marketing previously reported.  That is, it is located in the parking lot west of Whole Foods, 3490 Archer Road, east of the Bonefish Grill and behind Chili’s.  Although we do not yet see any Tesla equipment, one TMC member reported that when he visited the site that he spoke with an installer who said the site is definitely for the Tesla Superchargers.

It appears to me that the staging of this fencing and barricades is in preparation for the permit, but in the absence of a permit Tesla's contractor hasn't broken ground yet.

Here are some photos of the staging provided to me by our club member. 

Based on the photos provided to me, below are two Google views providing an orientation of where I thinks the charging stalls will go relative to the various landmarks in the shopping mall.

The Google view of the parking lot shows the previous layout. It has since been improved to install a sidewalk adjacent to the where the charging stall will be aligned.

This Google street view shows where the charging stalls will go in relation to the Bonefish Grill, Whole Foods and Chilli's.

Update as of February 15, 2019:

A permit for this project was issued today (February 15, 2019).

Update as of February  24, 2019.

Tesla's contractor broke ground on the Gainesville Supercharger Station on or around February 17, 2019.  I want to thank our club members and members of the Tesla community for providing the following photos.

Uncharacteristically, at this location Tesla is actually advertising this future station with a large banner seen toward the left of this photo. (For a full-sized image of this photo, right click and open the image in a new tab.)

A close-up of Tesla's banner announcing the opening of a new Supercharger Station.

Four of the ten future charging terminals.

All ten of the future charging terminals.

Update as of March 3, 2019.

More progress.

A small manhole (handhole) will be set over these conduits and cable will be pulled from across the street to this location and then to the individual charging terminals.  (I had initially erroeously thought that the Supercharger Cabinets would be set over these conduits.)

The 10 charging terminals have been set in concrete.

In zooming and cropping the previous photo, you can more clearly see the high voltage switchgear, the dark gray cabinets in clear plastic, in front of one of the Supercharger Cabinets, in the back with a light grey protective covering.

Update as of March 6, 2019.

Here are the 5 Supercharger Cabinets.

The labeling shows that these Superchargers are version 2, 135 kW.  (Tesla will be releasing the new version 3 Superchargers with a capacity of 250 kW.)

Update as of March 15, 2019.

Four of the ten charging terminals have been installed. This photo shows three of them.

Update as of March 16, 2019.

This is the same locations shown 6 photos above.  A handhole has been set over the conduits, which have been cut back below grade. The hole has been backfilled and a small tree planted in the "green space".  Some of the cabling from the charging terminals may have been pulled into the handhole.  It is expected that additional cables from the Supercharger Cabinets will also be pulled into this handhole to connect to the charging terminal cables.

The white boxes on the left are autotransformers.  Since the feed to the charging terminals will be coming from across the street, to compensate for the voltage drop, the autotransformers will be used to slightly boost the voltage coming out of each Supercharger Cabinet.

Across the street from the location of the charging terminals is the utility power transformer.  Placed near the transformer will be the high-voltage switchgear and Supercharger Cabinets.   This is located behind the Chilli's (red building to the right).

These conduits are across the street from the charging terminals and are located to the right of the transformer in the previous photo.  The conduits in the foreground will go to the high-voltage switchgear and cabling in these conduits will connect to the transformer.  In the background are the conduits for the 5 - Supercharger Cabinets.  A concrete pad will be poured over the conduits.

Update as of March 22, 2019.

This photo was taken from the vantage point of the rear of the Chilli's restaurant.  In the foreground are the forms and steel reinforcement for the concrete pad that will be poured around the conduits.  The Supercharger Cabinets and high-voltage Switchgear will be set over the conduits. To the right is the utility power transformer.  On the other side of the street, behind the fencing and banner the 10 charging terminals are located.

Update as of March 26, 2019.

All 10 charging terminals have been installed.

Update as of March 29, 2019.

The Tesla contractor poured the concrete slab and set the high-voltage switchgear (grey boxes) on it.

Here's the view from the other side.  The switchgear is on the left.  To the right the Supercharger Cabinets will be set over the conduits that are stubbed out above the concrete slab.

Update as of March 31, 2019.

The 5 Supercharger Cabinets have been set on the concrete pad. There are 5 sets of three large conduits stubbed out of the pad. I believe that the 5 autotransformers will be set over them.  

Update as of April 4, 2019.

The 5 autotransformers have been installed.

Update as of April 8, 2019.

The construction fencing around the installation has been removed.  The meter cabinet has been mounted on a concrete pole.  It would appear that all that remains prior to energizing is to install the meter in the meter cabinet.

The 10 charging terminals look ready to go.  The parking spaces could use some parking stops to prevent accidentally backing into the terminals.

Update as of April 16, 2019.

As of about 4 pm today (April 16, 2019) the meter has been installed, but the station has not yet been energized. Hopefully it will be soon. 

Update as of April 17, 2019.

The Gainesville Supercharger Station is now operational.

The Gainesville Supercharger Station was energized sometime last night April 17, 2019.  Note the Tesla lights on the charging terminals are lit.

This photo was taken this morning April 18, 2019.

I want to thank those who provided photos of the construction progress.  Particular thanks go to club member Eugenio for his numerous contributions.


Larry Chanin
President, Florida Tesla Enthusiasts

A small manhole (handhole) will be set over these conduits and cable will be pulled from across the street to this location and then to the individual charging terminals.  (I had initially erroeously thought that the Supercharger Cabinets would be set over these conduits.)

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