Underground Vaults & Storage Keeps Records and Other Valuables Safe

Original reels of Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz among the items securely stowed


Established in 1959, Underground Vaults & Storage (UV&S) specializes in secure records storage and management. UV&S serves national and international clients representing numerous industries including healthcare, legal, financial, insurance, oil/gas, government and entertainment. While most clients store important paper documents and client records, the company’s entertainment clients store original film copies of cartoons, television programs like Friends, soap operas, game shows, and legendary movies such as Gone with the Wind. The Kansas City facility is one of the company’s six locations and has operated in Hunt Midwest SubTropolis since 1986.


Originally located in a salt mine in Hutchinson, Kansas, UV&S sought to open a Kansas City location in 1986 to better serve clients in the greater Kansas City area. Because of the fragile nature of the documents, film, microfilms and other types of media the company stores, a facility that offered a constant temperature and controlled humidity levels was a must. In addition, UV&S requirements included the ability to build the facilities to their exact specifications, including adding refrigeration vaults. Finally, it needed to be a highly secure location convenient to Kansas City International Airport.


Underground Vaults & Storage found Hunt Midwest SubTropolis to be the perfect home for its expanded operations in Kansas City. “Our business started underground, so we knew it would be a good idea to go to SubTropolis when we expanded to Kansas City,” said Lee Spence, president of Underground Vaults & Storage. “Since most of our customers are near the airport, SubTropolis gave us quick access to them.” SubTropolis also offered a high level of security and was able to meet the company’s rigid environmental requirements.


SubTropolis’ location offers UV&S an array of benefits that help them control costs and deliver exceptional services:

Maximum protection – The UV&S facility at SubTropolis is extremely secure, with a complete security and safety department on-site 24/7 and a computer monitored fire sprinkler system. “Security was the first item we looked at,” according to Spence. “Our customers demand tight security and SubTropolis provides that for us.”

A great location – Clients also appreciate the central location of UV&S’ SubTropolis facility and the fact that it provides added protection against nature’s wrath. “Being located in SubTropolis is a way to miss most natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes,” added Spence.

Constant temperatures for preservation – In addition, SubTropolis offers a constant temperature of 60-70 degrees and a very constant humidity level of 40-50%, which is ideal for film and other media storage. So perfect, that movie classics such as Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz are safely tucked away at UV&S’ SubTropolis location. In fact, Spence says that whatever title you are thinking of, UV&S probably has it in storage at the facility.

“Movie/film businesses are very interested in preservation,” said Spence. “They want to make sure that with film and video, the fine grain masters are preserved. SubTropolis’ limestone facility – together with help from refrigeration – controls the preservation so that they don’t decay.”

A flexible build-to-suit policy – An added benefit to UV&S was the fact that the SubTropolis team could design and build out the UV&S location to meet its exact specifications. UV&S finds that the staff at SubTropolis always tries to accommodate its needs. “In our business, we really don’t need office space,” said Spence. “So the management is always trying to help us find other tenants to occupy those offices so that we can sublease them. In turn, this provides us revenue and we don’t have to pay for office space that we really don’t need.”


“If you compare the underground space to an above ground warehouse building, the lease cost is smaller than what above ground would be,” said Spence.

“Utility cost is a big factor. SubTropolis walls are painted white and it really brightens up the area so you don’t require as many lights as you would in an above ground warehouse building.” What’s more, Spence says SubTropolis’ staff works to promote Underground Vaults & Storage as a business. “They have passed on leads to our business and they’ve been very helpful because they know we are there for the long term and they want to help us grow,” he said.

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