Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Dddny. Dddny Wonders, “Does anyone live underground?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Dddny!
If you could work in any type of office, what would it be? Would you choose a corner office high in a skyscraper? How about one overlooking the ocean? Both of those spots sound nice, don’t they? But how about working over 150 feet below ground? That’s the reality for thousands in the Kansas City, Missouri, area—and many love it!
Deep below the surface of Kansas City lies millions of square feet of limestone mines. In the 1960s, these mines inspired entrepreneur and football giant Lamar Hunt. He turned one of those limestone mines into SubTropolis, an underground business park. Today, it’s home to many businesses.
How big is SubTropolis? It’s huge! In fact, it’s the world’s largest underground industrial space. You could fit over 40 football stadiums inside it. Today, SubTropolis has over six million square feet of usable space. It hopes to add at least another seven million square feet.
Why would businesses want to work underground? There are many reasons. A major plus is its climate. SubTropolis stays a constant 68-72 degrees. This makes heating and cooling costs about 85 percent less than they would be above ground. It also cuts back a business’s impact on the planet.
This also makes SubTropolis the perfect place for companies that use sensitive machinery. They often need a stable climate that’s not too hot and not too cold. The climate in SubTropolis helps these businesses keep their machines running.
In addition, SubTropolis is secure. It’s safe from natural disasters. The limestone around it is six times stronger than concrete. The complex is also laid out in an orderly manner. It has over eight miles of roadways and two miles of railroad tracks for travel to and from the offices.
These features have lured many businesses to this unique location. For example, the U.S. Postal Service keeps most of its stamps there. A company named Underground Vaults and Storage stores the original reels of some Hollywood movies. This includes films like “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
SubTropolis isn’t the only place of its kind. There are similar complexes in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. There are even other underground offices in Kansas City. In total, more than 10% of industrial space in Kansas City is underground. That number will likely continue to grow. SubTropolis could one day grow to over 55 million square feet of space.
Still not sure you’d like to work underground all the time? It’s not for everyone! But 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 doesn’t turn into an oven after sitting in the Sun all day! These are just a few reasons people love working in SubTropolis.
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2