Redevelopment gearing up for Jefferson City’s Millbottom area

Redevelopment of the former Ameren power plant in Jefferson City’s Millbottom area is nearing completion, with its first retail tenant under contract, after several years in the works.

The building, located at 400 W. Main St. just west of the Capitol, dates back at least to the early 1900s and operated as a manufactured gas plant for Ameren — and power plant for the Missouri Power and Light Co. and Jefferson City Light, Heat and Power Company before that — until the mid-1980s.

“The Millbottom is where it all started for Jefferson City,” said Ron Dawson, managing partner of the Mill Bottom, LLC, development team. “This is the last standing building.”

Dawson purchased the then-unused property from Jefferson City in 2012 for $1 after three years of project planning, rezoning and other negotiations necessary for repurposing the existing structures.

Now, after disassembling and removing the boilers, pouring new floors, abating asbestos, and installing new windows, HVAC, plumbing and — soon — a new roof, Dawson and partners Dick Otke, Jason Otke and Gary Oberkrom foresee a project completion date of no later than April 2015.

“The only thing that won’t be new will be the brick and the structure itself,” Oberkrom said. “There’s nothing that’s not been touched.”

The development’s first retail tenant, Red Wheel Bike Shop, should be moved in by the beginning of next year.

BizBeat: The Millbottom debuts as event venue

By Rebecca Martin

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The former Ameren power plant in Jefferson City’s Millbottom area is nearing total renovation, and kicked off the newest phase of its more than 100-year existence last Thursday with an event hosted by the Discover Jefferson City Foundation.

The development team of Ron Dawson, Dick Otke, Jason Otke, Gary Oberkrom and Tim Hayden now are marketing The Millbottom’s largest space — the 4,700-square-foot room where the power plant’s boilers once operated — as an event venue.

“It really lends itself as an event space,” Dawson said of the expansive area that features a huge arched window, exposed steel beams and overhead crane original to the power plant. He and the development team previously discussed marketing the space for other uses.

The developers have added an indoor/outdoor bar as well as a caterer’s kitchen with commercial refrigeration, caterer’s sinks and other equipment; and a mezzanine level adds another 800 square feet of space to the venue. They have also purchased tables and chairs for use at events held there.

Although a few finishing touches remain before the renovation is complete, The Millbottom already has several corporate-type events and a few weddings on the books. The developers might also consider hosting a Fourth of July event, as The Millbottom’s back patio has a clear, closeup view of Jefferson City’s annual fireworks show.

“It’s game on now,” Dawson said.

The Millbottom welcomed its first retail tenant, Red Wheel Bike Shop, in February. Two additional spaces are available for lease: a 1,500-square-foot commercial loft above the bike shop suitable for office use and a 325-square-foot outbuilding that the developers envision for a food vendor.