More than 1,000 people spend their workdays in an industrial park housed in an excavated mine the size of 140 football fields…As Bloomberg reports, the underground industrial park known as SubTropolis opened for business in 1964 in an excavated mine below Kansas City, MO attracting tenants with the lure of lower energy costs and cheap rents… About 10 percent of Kansas City’s commercial real estate is underground, says Ora Reynolds, president of SubTropolis landlord Hunt Midwest. Landlords have made a cottage industry out of underground industrial space, thanks to rock formations near the Missouri River that allow trucks to drive into the old mines instead of tenants needing to use elevators to get things in and out.
Industrial chic: Subtropolis boasts 17-foot-high ceilings supported by rough-hewn columns. The 270-million-year-old limestone deposits are six times stronger than concrete, according to Hunt Midwest’s marketing materials.
Subtropolis’s cool climate helped attract cloud computing company LightEdge, which has become the anchor tenant in what Hunt Midwest hopes will develop into a major data center.
The U.S. Postal Service uses Subtropolis as a distribution hub for postage stamps, storing hundreds of millions of stamps in the facility.
The USPS rents more than 500,000 square feet at SubTropolis.
The National Archives and Records Association keeps old tax records and federal court documents at the facility. Pick a fight with the Internal Revenue Service and the paper trail may lead to these shelves.
Vanguard Packaging prints retail packaging and supermarket displays in its 500,000-square-foot space. Vanguard calls itself the most sustainable packaging company in North America.
Journey to the center of the earth or at least, to EarthWorks, an educational program that schools students on the Midwest’s natural habitats in a 32,000 square-foot space in SubTropolis.
Some canisters in this archive hold the original film from Gone with the Wind.
“I have no idea how many pounds of coffee I have down here,” says Joe Paris, vice president at Paris Brothers, a specialty foods company. “I have thousands of bags. Some of them are 60 or 70 kilos. It’s a lot.”
SubTropolis is down the road from an assembly plant at which Ford manufactures F150 pickups. This has attracted companies such as Knapheide, shown here, which manufactures steel bodies that get rigged onto Ford trucks.
One tenant in SubTropolis’s Automotive Alley is Ground Effects, which provides a variety of conversion services