VALMEYER, Ill. – Millions of boxes containing federal archives are being stored in a cave located in a small Illinois town.
Columbia resident Joe Koppeis owns restaurants, hotels, hardware stores, shopping centers, supermarkets, and other businesses throughout southern Illinois. After the nearby village of Valmeyer flooded in 1993, the small community was moved to the top of a bluff, and in the process, acquired a rock quarry.
Officials approached Koppeis for development ideas. After coming up with the idea of an underground business complex, Koppeis signed an agreement with Valmeyer for the development of Rock City.
It consists of 6 million square feet of space where one million of that has been developed so far. Rock City is earthquake, tornado, and electromagnetic proof, according to Koppeis, and has a year-round temperature of 58 degrees with cold storage capabilities down to -15.
Other features include insulated and fireproof wall systems, 25-40 feet high ceilings, and is sustainable and energy-efficient.
Food and meat companies such as Little Caesars, Cargill, and more currently store inventory in the climate-controlled underground spaces.
Rock City is not just for warehouse space, there is office space available as well. Koppeis said he hopes to see computer data centers businesses at the underground complex due to its cooling and long-haul fiber capabilities.
“It’s just so different here than it is anywhere else. I kind of like figuring out how to do things differently,” he said.
Koppeis is currently working to bring a bitcoin mining company to Rock City.
In addition to warehouse and distribution, and food, cold, data, and refrigerated storage, the underground business complex currently houses 2.5 million boxes containing military and civilian personnel records. A total of 70 employees work to maintain the files, answer questions and scan them.
Before the site became Rock City, a limestone mine was there that served the Midwest and beyond. It was later turned into a rural organic farm and harvesting area. Outside Rock City is a conservation area with a five-mile hiking trail.
For more information, visit Rock City Development’s website.
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