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Ford PSW-Approved industrial space

Another firm wheels into Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley

Another firm wheels into Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley
Rob Roberts – Kansas City Business Journal

Hunt Midwest has landed its 14th auto industry-related tenant at Automotive Alley, a combination of above- and below-ground real estate near the junction of Missouri Highway 210 and Interstate 435 in Kansas City.

Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment, a New York-based subsidiary of Douglas Dynamics Inc. (NYSE: PLOW), has leased 90,000 square feet in SubTropolis for a new Ford Transit and Ford F-150 upfitting operation. The firm also will lease an additional 2 acres for vehicle staging, Hunt Midwest reported.

Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley includes space in SubTropolis, the world’s largest subterranean business complex, and the roughly 700-acre Hunt Midwest Business Center surface development above it.

“Dejana is the 14th auto company to choose Automotive Alley for upfitting, distribution or coordination operations in the past six years,” Mike BellHunt Midwest vice president of commercial development, said in a release. “This cluster effect of automotive companies located within SubTropolis and the Hunt Midwest Business Center allows companies like Dejana to be more productive and cost competitive, which is the essence of Automotive Alley.”

Dejana manufactures van partitions, racking systems and hauling systems for after-market installation on commercial vans and trucks. The company chose SubTropolis because of its location just south of Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo and the availability of space for staging vehicles before delivery, Andrew Dejana, president of Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment, said in a release.

“Being able to quickly move vehicles from Ford’s plant to our upfitting operation, combined with the ability to stage those vehicles nearby, is an unbeatable value proposition in our business,” Dejana said in the release. “SubTropolis was the logical choice for Dejana as we work to expand our reach and improve our ability to serve customers in the energy, utility and telecommunications industries. We look forward to continuing the great partnership we have with Ford, and a presence in the Kansas City market will strengthen our position with the fleet and ship-through business.”

Additional upfitters and suppliers with locations in Automotive Alley include AER Manufacturing, Adrian Steel, Auto Truck GroupClore Automotive, Ground Effects, Grupo Antolin, Knapheide Manufacturing Co., Masterack LLC, CVP Group LLC, Midway Ford, Reading Truck Body LLC, Spartan Motors and XPO Logistics. Those companies, combined with Ford’s North American Vehicle Logistics Outbound Shipping facility, have more than 10,000 spaces for vehicle staging in Automotive Alley.

Ora Reynolds and Mike Bell in front of HMBC Logisitcs I

Auto, e-commerce demand fuel Hunt Midwest Business Center expansion

Auto, e-commerce demand fuel Hunt Midwest Business Center expansion
Rob Roberts – Kansas City Business Journal

By the time Hunt Midwest completes HMBC Logistics I next month, the new 200,000-square-foot Class A industrial building in the Hunt Midwest Business Center may well be leased up, said Ora Reynolds, the Kansas City-based development firm’s CEO.

Hunt Midwest is currently in the final stages of negotiations with three tenants that would fill the building, which was started last year on a speculative basis, meaning before any tenants were signed.

Once that happens, Reynolds said, Hunt Midwest will start on one of the other two 200,000-square-foot specs planned for adjacent sites in the surface business park located near Parvin Road and Interstate 435 in Clay County — just a mile and a half away from the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant and right above the world’s largest underground business park, Hunt Midwest’s SubTropolis.

According to Reynolds, the trio of 200,000-square-feet buildings is designed to fill a niche in the market for tenants needing 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of Class A industrial space with features such as 32-foot clear height, multiple dock doors (HMBC Logistics I’s current 20 doors can be tripled to meet tenant demand) and 60-foot deep bays that allow indoor staging for 53-foot trailers. Read more…

Ford PSW-Approved industrial space

Ford is keeping the line moving in Kansas City.

Ford is keeping the line moving in Kansas City.
Ryan Tompkins – Manager of Sales & Leasing

When people think about Kansas City, chances are they think about barbecue, jazz, the Kansas City Chiefs and of course, our World Series-winning Royals.

What they may not realize is that along Kansas City’s I-35 Northland corridor, Ford has managed to cover all the bases by putting a winning team together to support production and customization of its two Kansas City-made vehicles, the top-selling Ford F-150 and the Ford Transit, the top-selling commercial van.

It all begins at Ford’s massive Claycomo Assembly Plant and it ends just a few miles south at Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley, a sprawling above- and below-ground commercial business park that is home to Ford’s 29-acre North American Vehicle Logistics Outbound Shipping facility, or NAVLOS.

After Ford F-150s and Transit commercial vans roll off the assembly line at Claycomo, they’re transported a couple of miles to the NAVLOS facility in Automotive Alley for staging. The vehicles are then transferred to one of 10 Ford approved upfitters located within Automotive Alley, which includes both the Hunt Midwest Business Center (HMBC) and SubTropolis, the world’s largest underground business complex.

Since 2012, Automotive Alley has seen tremendous growth in its fleet of upfitters, with companies like Adrian Steel, CASECO, Ground Effects, Knapheide, Sortimo and Leggett & Platt adding customizable cargo management solutions. Other auto industry related companies within Automotive Alley include distributors AER Manufacturing, Clore Automotive, Grupo Antolin and Midway Ford, as well as 3PL provider XPO Logistics. And more upfitters, suppliers and related companies are looking at Automotive Alley every day.

With the Kansas City Claycomo plant helping lead the way for Ford’s best year ever, Hunt Midwest is developing speculative industrial space, both below (SubTropolis) and above (HMBC) ground, to accommodate future growth companies looking for a centrally located, affordable place to do business near Ford’s largest assembly plant.

At Hunt Midwest, we’re proud to be a part of Ford’s winning Kansas City team, and we look forward to adding more players in 2016 and beyond.

Ryan Tompkins is manager of sales and leasing for Hunt Midwest. In March he will represent Hunt Midwest and Automotive Alley at the NTEA Work Truck Show. Reach Ryan at rtompkins@huntmidwest.com.

Why Ford's suppliers are going underground (literally)

Why Ford suppliers are going underground (literally)

In the shadow of a Ford plant, auto suppliers toil 100 feet down in a former Kansas City limestone mine.

I’ve been to a lot of unusual places in my long career as a journalist, but SubTropolis in Kansas City takes the cake. It’s the world’s largest underground storage facility, 6 million square feet 80 to 150 down in a former limestone mine. The limestone is 270 million years old, but the use of these caves for climate-controlled businesses only dates to 1964.

SubTropolis, owned by the wealthy Hunt family, is like an underground city, with the major benefit in hot-summer, cold-winter Kansas City of being a steady 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. No wonder the place gets a 100 percent Energy Star rating — no heating or air conditioning necessary! The U.S. Post Office stores $6 billion in stamps down here, and LightEdge Solutions maintains a naturally cooled $58 million data center.

I’m down in SubTropolis for Automotive Alley, the newest addition. In 2011, Ford announced a $1.1 billion expansion of its Claycomo assembly plant, which makes the F-150 truck (America’s bestselling vehicle) and the Transit van. SubTropolis borders Ford’s property, so what better location for Ford suppliers?

On the surface here, Ford maintains a 29-acre logistics facility where it stages 1,800 Transits, 80 percent of which get shipped by rail from here. But a lot of them go underground, where three companies, Adrian Steel, Knapheide and Ground Effects, have only recently begun “upfitting” them for customers like Comcast, Duke Energy, Western Pest Control, Geek Squad and Halliburton.

First stop: Canada-based Ground Effects, where plant manager April Adams shows me rows of F-150s that are having bed liners sprayed in (a $475 factory option). Across the way, Transits are getting cargo spray floors, Kicker subwoofers and remote starts. The whole spraying thing gets me concerned about ventilation down here, but President and CEO Ora Reynolds and VP Mike Bell assure me that the place is naturally air conditioned through 17 openings. “We have the EPA down here,” Bell says. “Do you think they’d allow us to have bad air quality?” Go to MNN.com for more…

Doing business 100 feet underground - CNNMoney.com

Doing business 100 feet underground

Here’s a novel way to slash your business expenses in half: Relocate 100 feet underground.
In the Midwest, many businesses have done just that.

In states like Missouri, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, there’s a growing number of firms doing business in subterranean spaces that were once mines. Starting in the 1960s, these spaces were rehabilitated for commercial use.

SubTropolis, in Kansas City, Mo., is a well-known example.

The underground business complex was an active limestone mine in the 1940s, owned by real estate firm Hunt Midwest. As mining started to taper off, it left a vast network of empty caves.

“In the 1960s came the ‘a-ha!’ moment,” said Ora Reynolds, president and CEO of Hunt Midwest. “These spaces could be reused.”

Since then, Hunt Midwest has gradually transformed the defunct spaces.

“Six million square feet of it is ready, and we have room to build out another 8 million square feet based on demand,” said Dick Ringer, SubTropolis’ general manager.

Today, 1,600 people to work at one of the 52 businesses that lease space in SubTropolis’ space, including tech and manufacturing firms, consumer products companies and auto firms.

“Ford at one time used to store its Mavericks here,” said Reynolds. And the U.S. Postal Service currently stores $2 billion worth of stamps in SubTropolis.

“The constant temperature and humidity [it’s 68 to 72 degrees year-round] are ideal for storing stamps and other products,” she said.

Other advantages: There’s underground parking. Construction costs are low since there’s already a natural roof in place — all they need to build are walls.

“We’re a ‘green’ workspace since we’re conserving natural resources,” Ringer said. “And by being deep underground, we’re a pretty secure location for businesses.”

Employees enter SubTropolis through one of 19 entrances that accommodate cars and trucks. This also facilitates cross-ventillation of natural air, although tenants can also add air conditioning and dehumidifiers. Go to CNNMoney.com for more…