What Is Subtropolis and How Large Is It?
Deep below the surface of Kansas City lies millions upon millions of square feet of limestone mines. Over 50 years ago, entrepreneur Lamar Hunt, who owns the Kansas City Chiefs football team, turned one of those limestone mines into SubTropolis, an underground business park that’s now home to a wide variety of businesses.
How large is SubTropolis? It’s huge! Imagine an underground space large enough that you could fit over 40 professional football stadiums inside it. SubTropolis currently has over six million square feet of leasable space, and there’s another eight million square feet yet to be developed. It’s the world’s largest underground industrial complex.
Why would businesses want to operate underground? SubTropolis offers several benefits. Primarily, it’s climate-controlled. SubTropolis stays a constant 68-72 degrees. This makes heating and air-conditioning costs about 85% less than comparable space above ground.
In addition, SubTropolis is a secure location not susceptible to natural disasters. The limestone that surrounds the businesses in SubTropolis is six times stronger than concrete. It’s also laid out in an orderly, efficient manner with over eight miles of roadways and two miles of railroad tracks.
These features have lured a wide variety of businesses to this unique location. For example, the U.S. Postal Service stores most of its stamps there. A company named Underground Vaults and Storage also safeguards the original reels of Hollywood movies, like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
SubTropolis is also the perfect home for large data centers. Its dry, climate-controlled atmosphere is perfect for sensitive electronic machinery that requires a stable environment.
SubTropolis isn’t the only facility of its kind. There are similar complexes in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. There are even other underground industrial spaces in Kansas City. In total, more than 10% of industrial space in Kansas City is underground. That number will likely continue to grow, since SubTropolis has the potential to expand to a total of over 55 million square feet of space.
If you’re still not sure you’d like to work underground all the time, there are definite benefits. It’s a cool, unique environment. Plus, in the winter, you don’t have to wear a jacket to work. And, in the summer, your car isn’t like an oven from sitting in the Sun all day!