Any commercial real estate firm can tell you that warehouse space is growing scarce in metropolitan areas, sending rental rates soaring in 2020, with no end in sight. That sky-high demand helps explain why a Missouri developer is continuing to carve out industrial space from an unlikely location: an artificial cavern dug from a 200 million-year-old limestone deposit in the bluffs above the Missouri River.
Created by the Hunt family dynasty that also owns the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bulls pro sports teams, “SubTropolis” is an underground business complex with nearly 7 million square feet of leasable space, 8.5 miles of paved roads, 2.1 miles of railroad track, and more than 500 truck docks. The bustling complex hosts more than 2,000 employees, who park their cars in its 1,600 parking spaces, just a 10-minute drive from Kansas City’s central business district and 20 minutes from the city’s airport.
In April, SubTropolis expanded by another 700,000 square feet of “Class A” space targeted at warehousing and distribution operations. This expansion, built on spec, provides an “excellent solution” for operators struggling to meet the current supply chain and speed-to-market demands created by today’s online shoppers, the developer, Hunt Midwest, said. The company added that the site’s naturally temperature-controlled climate makes it well-suited for storing inventory with a limited lifespan or specific temperature needs, as well as for archival and document storage.
“The naturally climate-controlled environment in SubTropolis provides a low-cost solution for distribution space in the heart of the logistics corridor,” the company’s senior vice president, Mike Bell, said in a release. “Building a business complex into limestone cliffs isn’t something that’s done every day. But Hunt Midwest has been able to successfully leverage one of Kansas City’s natural resources to create a unique environment that benefits many business models.”
@HuntMidwest spec expansion grows underground footprint at #SubTropolis — @KCBizJournal @KCBJ_Thomas https://t.co/zrv6EUrkWE #kansascity #CRE #distribution #warehouse #logistics pic.twitter.com/9sd8Nqu4qL— SubTropolis (@SubTropolis) April 7, 2021