The electronic structure of a novel nanometer scale semiconductor quantum wire structure [S. Y. Chou and Y. Wang, Appl. Phys. Lett. 63, 788 (1993)] has been calculated self-consistently. The structure has two control parameters, the voltage applied to a split gate and the voltage applied to a wire gate. The influences of both the split gate and the narrow wire gate which is placed inside the gap of the split gate, on the electronic structure of the system are examined. We show that varying the voltage on either the split gate or the wire gate changes the induced quantum wire confinement potential profile, the energy level spacing, the channel electron density, and the effective channel width. Results for the ballistic conductance of the device as a function of the two control voltages are extracted from the electronic structure calculations and are found to be in satisfactory agreement with experimental data.