Tennessee American relocates headquarters

Tennessee American relocates headquarters

December 13th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

The Tennessee American Water Co. File photo.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

After cutting staff and outsourcing its customer service to affiliate companies, Tennessee American Water has given up its downtown headquarters and relocated its engineering and executive staff next to its water treatment facilities off Riverfront Parkway.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, which bought the 15,000-square-foot building at Broad and 11th streets more than a year ago, plans to use the former water company headquarters to house its fleet management and other operations, TVA spokesman Duncan Mansfield said. TVA recently sold its 10th Street garage and is consolidating most of its downtown staff in and around its Chattanooga Office Complex.

Tennessee American, the state's biggest privately owned water supplier, recently moved its engineering and executive staff into a new 7,700-square-foot building erected on part of its riverfront property. Tenn Am President Deron Allen said the new office will "bring the company's executive leadership team in the same premises as the company's field and operations team."

The move also will help cut lease expenses for the water utility, which had been headquartered in the 2-story office building at Broad and 11th Streets since 1978.

The water company originally operated a customer service center and allowed walk-in customers to pay their monthly water bills at the Broad Street offices. But the utility has contracted with others for in-person bill payments and shifted most of its bill handling to its customer service operations at other telemarketing offices operates by its parent company, American Water Works.

Kevin Rogers, manager of operations for Tennessee-American, said about 100 employees now work for Tenn-Am, down about 10 percent from a decade ago. The last employees moved out of the downtown office after Thanksgiving, Rogers said.

The company's new office at 109 Wiehl Street, a single-story brick and stone facility, was erected by Helton Construction Co., to match the architecture of adjacent buildings.

Tallan Properties built the two-story Broad Street office next to TVA's power headquarters in 1978. The building remained leased to Tennessee American Water after Luken Properties bought Tallan and Stone Fort Land Co. in 2005.

TVA acquired the building in March 2012 from Luken.

"We got a good opportunity and decided to sell," said Russell Elliott, director of leasing for Luken Properties.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340