We Energies is seeking approval from state regulators to build a new headquarters for its steam district operations.
The new 15,000-square-foot facility would be located on property adjacent to the Valley Power Plant in the Menomonee Valley. A 4,700-square-foot office space would accommodate 28 employees. A 10,300-square-foot garage area would provide secure parking for a fleet of vehicles and space for repair and maintenance of steam metering equipment, according to an application submitted to the state Public Service Commission.
We Energies’ steam district serves more than 400 customers across 3.5 square miles in downtown Milwaukee. Its system of tunnels and steam lines can deliver up to 1.4 million pounds of steam.
Making the move would increase efficiency of operations, eliminate ongoing lease payments and improve safety and security for employees, a We Energies spokesman said.
The operations headquarters is currently located at 613 N. 35th St. in around 20,600 square feet across two buildings. The current lease there expires in August.
“While the property management company has not disclosed any plans to terminate future lease opportunities, there has been development in the area and if the existing spaces were suddenly to be become unavailable, (District Energy Operations) would be forced to move quickly to attempt to find a suitable work location,” the utility’s application says.
We Energies estimates the project will cost $4.3 million. Not building or finding a new location would risk a potentially higher lease payment. Building a stand-alone facility would cost around $5 million while adding a facility on the roof of the Valley Power Plant service building would be $4.5 million with unknown risks and disruptions, the application says.
Building a facility adjacent to the Valley Power Plant would allow steam district employees to share the plant’s storeroom, machine shop, fabrication shop and locker rooms.
The project timeline calls for the new facility to be done by September.
The location of the current steam district operations:
Check out the latest digital edition of STUFF Designed, Made and Built in Southeast Wisconsin: