If Portland – where OpConnect is headquartered – is any indication, the commercial real estate market is improving across the country.

Here in the Rose City, more than a few signature projects are under construction, from the Park Avenue West tower in downtown to the Nike world headquarters expansion in Washington County.

Last week, we attended the Portland Business Alliance’s Forum Breakfast, which focused on what’s happening in the Portland’s real estate market. All three panelists forecasted continued growth for the Portland Metro Area. And officials there reported that the local market had seen 8,000 new construction jobs in the last quarter.

As the commercial real estate (and overall economy) rebound from the Great Recession, it may be a good time to consider adding or planning for EV charging stations to your commercial real estate project.

Of course, as the manufacturer of the best EVSE charging station in the industry, we would make that suggestion. But we also have several valid reasons for making the recommendation – and they all come down to either saving you money or making you money.

First, electric vehicles are being adopted at phenomenal rate. Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles soared by 84 percent from 2012 to 2013 for a total of more than 96,000, according to data from Ward’s Automotive. Recently eight states (including Oregon, California and New York among them) pledged to add more than 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on the roadways by 2025EVs to the http://online.wsj.com/articles/eight-u-s-states-to-roll-out-electric-vehicle-plan-1401320116

What this means to a commercial real estate developer is that it is more and more likely that your tenant’s employees, customers, and guests will be driving electric and wanting a charge.

Those same tenants are seeking properties that offer more than just a box for their employees and businesses. Add EV charging stations to that list of desired amenities that include bike racks, employee showers and so forth.

They also want to be in properties that are good stewards to the environment. This includes having energy efficiency programs in place, or pursuing LEED certification. Did you know that installing an EV charging station adds a point toward certification?

And in some states, such as Hawaii, the law requires at least one EV charger per 100 parking spots.

So future tenants, law makers and others want you to install a charging station, what next?

We recommend consulting with a charging station vendor (such as OpConnect), who can provide you with some of the specifications of the units and consult on types of chargers, installed locations, and how many you may want for a specific project.

With that guidance, your team can plan for installing the stations.

In some projects, the plan may call for dozens of stations, but that is only when the project is fully built and with 100 percent occupancy.

In those and similar cases, you can at least prepare by installing conduit and power. That way, you don’t have to later spend money to break and later patch any concrete for the installation. (Installation costs can be half or more of the overall budget for installing charging stations, so any work you can do ahead of time in the planning and building of a project will save you money later on).

Finally, you have to choose the charging station that will be right for your needs. That is a subject for a future blog post. Until then, if you have questions, please email or call us. We would be happy to answer any questions, come out for a site visit of your proposed project, or provide a demonstration of our OpConnect Mark II charging stations and network.

Good luck planning for EV charging stations in your commercial real estate project!