The interior of the SubTropolis business park near Kansas City.

SubTropolis Adds Underground Data Center

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The interior of the SubTropolis business park near Kansas City.

The world’s largest underground business park is about to get a data center. Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development will develop the first 40,000 square feet of SubTech, a secure underground data center within the company’s SubTropolis business complex. When complete, the first phase of SubTech will contain 100,000 square feet of raised-floor data center space.

SubTropolis is an underground facility built in a former limestone mine near Kansas City, offering more than 5 million square feet of space. The facility’s tenant mix is fcoused in the warehouse and distribution sector and record storage. But Hunt Midwest believes the natural cooling provied by SubTropolis will be attractive to data center operators as well.

Data Bunkers Generate Interest 
SubTech will be the newest player in a growing niche for “data bunkers” – underground data storage facilities housed in former military facilities, mines or limestone caves. These subterranean fortresses have strong appeal for tenants seeking ultra-secure hosting that will survive any eventuality – including a nuclear blast.

“We have put great effort into designing SubTech as a state-of-the-art facility,” said Ora Reynolds, president of Hunt Midwest. “Kansas City ranks second in the United States for enterprise data center operating affordability. Power and fiber capacity are abundant. SubTech tenants will be able to take advantage of these benefits.”

Plan for 20,000 Square Foot Modules
SubTech is a naturally “hardened” facility that is safe from natural disasters, and has virtually unlimited space available for IT and raised floor operations. The facility will initially offer data center space ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 square feet, with the first 100,000 square feet of raised floor space built out in 20,000 square-foot modules. Following this first phase of raised floor data center space, SubTech can be expanded in standard modular increments.

“Hunt Midwest has successfully operated SubTropolis for more than 50 years and we are excited the company decided to expand operations to include a data center,” said Jill McCarthy, vice president business development with the Kansas City Area Development Council. “As home to Sprint’s world operational headquarters as well as AT&T regional facilities, this area is a focal point for both long-haul and transcontinental fiber networks.”

A group of data center developers has been pushing the state of Missouri to develop tax incentives to try and leverage the state’s plentiful supply of limestone mines. The Missouri Coalition for Data Centers includes The Mountain Complex, Springfield Underground and City Utilities, which operates the SpringNet Underground. The incentive package uppears unlikely to advance this year.

A rendering of plans for the entrance to the SubTech data center, with space for an electircal substation, water storage tower and a cooling plant. The data center space will be located inside the cave (entrance at right).

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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