A Powerful Partnership

Fifty years ago, Ameren Missouri built an operational center at 1310 Industrial Drive. Since that time, a lot has changed — technology, equipment and culture. The corporate landscape has shifted significantly also. In 1971, Missouri Power & Light Company provided power in Jefferson City as well as most of Central Missouri. In 1984, Missouri Power & Light merged with Union Electric Company, which eventually became Ameren UE and finally Ameren Missouri. 

In 2019, Ameren Corporation, the parent company of Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, and Ameren Transmission, began an effort to investigate and analyze facilities across the bi-state system to determine overall facility health and identify buildings in need of upgrades or replacement. The facility at 1310 Industrial Drive made the list for replacement. 

The property search began in early 2020 with 12 potential sites. By August, Ameren whittled down those 12 properties to a couple and the decision was made to pursue a purchase contract with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce on a tract of land at the corner of Militia Drive and U.S. Highway 50/63 that is part of the Partnership Business Park. The Chamber told Ameren Missouri that another party had already provided a letter of intent on the exact same tract and that it was unavailable. The very same day, Ameren Missouri received a request from Three Rivers Electric Cooperative for information on lighting incentives for the old Fabick Caterpillar building which they had just purchased. The Fabick building is adjacent to the tract being pursued by Ameren Missouri. A quick call to Roger Kloeppel, CEO/General Manager for Three Rivers, revealed they were the other party interested in the tract. 

Founded in 1939, the Three Rivers Electric Cooperative (TREC) has its headquarters in Linn, and in 1979 as the cooperative celebrated its 40th anniversary, a second facility was opened at 4800 Route E in Brazito. 

The cooperative is entering a new phase of growth as it opens its third facility, a construction and maintenance campus at 7050 Partnership Parkway in Jefferson City. For the past decade, TREC has been considering a building expansion at either the Linn facility or the Brazito facility. This expansion need was driven by the growth in the areas surrounding Jefferson City, and the equipment and personnel needed to maintain an aging distribution system. In 2020, TREC was given the opportunity to purchase an existing facility that answers almost all of our needs. The facility is probably better known as the Fabick building off Militia Drive. It is ironic that the new TREC facility is located on Partnership Parkway, said General Manager/CEO Roger Kloeppel.

 “The cooperative is experiencing its greatest growth in the western Osage County and eastern Cole County areas,” he said. “We want to provide these members with the exceptional service our other members receive. In addition, we want to enter into a more meaningful partnership with the City of Jefferson and the County of Cole. Working together, we can accomplish great things.”

After several discussions, an agreement was made between Ameren Missouri, Three Rivers Electric Cooperative and the Chamber that would allow both utilities to co-exist at the same location — Ameren Missouri would get most of the original tract it was interested in and Three Rivers would get a portion of that same tract adjacent to the Fabick property they already owned. 

This agreement between Ameren Missouri and Three Rivers Electric Cooperative is a win for both utilities – it solidifies an already strong partnership between the investor-owned utility and the rural electric cooperative, and sets the stage for future synergies due to their close proximity. 

Operational challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons learned have allowed Ameren Missouri to take a step back and look at building design. As the company moves into the design stage in 2022, they will take lessons learned to create a space that supports healthy interactions between co-workers, provides shared workspaces for co-workers who bridge between working from home and working in the office environment, and provides the operational structure to be successful in the rapidly changing utility industry. The planned timeline is to begin design work in 2022, with construction starting in 2023 and wrapping up in 2024.

This project is part of Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan that includes thousands of infrastructure projects throughout the state. Ameren Missouri, through the Smart Energy Plan, is investing in smart technology, stronger poles and upgraded power lines to help reduce outages and respond faster when they do occur. The Smart Energy Plan is one way we are Powering the Quality of Life now and for the future to benefit Missouri families, businesses and communities.