Each year about a million people visit the Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun theme parks in Kansas City, Missouri, most of them unaware of an even stranger attraction lying about 100 feet below.
Down there, in a place called SubTropolis, is a bustling enterprise zone where some 55 businesses have set up shop. You can find everything from 100-pound sacks of coffee beans to original reels of Gone With the Wind and the U.S. Postal Service’s stash of hundreds of millions of commemorative stamps.
With 5 million square feet of leased warehouse, light-industry, and office space, and a network of more than two miles of rail lines and six miles of roads, SubTropolis is the world’s largest underground business complex—and one of eight or so in the area. To people along this stretch of the Missouri River, however, subterranean development also represents an innovative local way to save energy and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.