In Kansas City’s Northland‚ business is taken to another level – literally. The region is home to SubTropolis‚ the world’s largest underground business complex.
“SubTropolis was created through the mining of a 270 million-year-old limestone deposit‚” says Dick Ringer‚ assistant general manager of Hunt Midwest‚ the developer of SubTropolis. “In the mid-’60s‚ someone thought‚ ‘this would be an ideal place for storage and warehousing operations.’ In 1980‚ the Lamar Hunt family and Jack Steadman purchased it‚ named it SubTropolis‚ and made it what it is today.”
The underground complex covers five million square feet and is completely dry and brightly lit‚ with miles of paved streets. It houses more than 50 local‚ national and international businesses‚ including warehousing‚ distribution‚ cold storage and light manufacturing operations.
“Tenants of SubTropolis save 30 to 50 percent on lease rates and 50 to 70 percent on utilities. Plus‚ the constant temperature and humidity level protect tenants’ products and equipment and increase worker productivity‚” Ringer says. “With everyone thinking ‘green’ right now‚ SubTropolis is already green in many ways. Tenants use less energy‚ and overall operation/maintenance costs are lower. And when we build a new building or expand existing space‚ we use less material – Mother Nature has provided the roof and floor.”
Since it began‚ SubTropolis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal‚ The New York Times‚ Fortune magazine and numerous other trade publications. It also has been covered by The Travel Channel‚ The Discovery Channel and CNN.
“SubTropolis is very unique. This doesn’t happen every day‚” Ringer says. “It’s only because of the limestone formation and its location that we can do this here. We have developed over five million square feet of usable space‚ and we’ll develop more than 20 million before we’re done.”