Abandoned Warehouse

"Another secret society meeting in a warehouse. Do you think the owners charge them rent?"
Varric, Dragon Age II

Some settings speak louder than others. An Abandoned Warehouse screams "let's rumble" at about the same volume that a grand but derelict house on a hill shouts "supernatural and creepy". If any given cordial enemy says "let's meet in an abandoned warehouse", you can pretty much drop the "cordial" part right then and there, and if nobody fires a gun during the warehouse scene, it's only because it's a children's show. And even then, it'll still involve whatever nerfed magical battle powers the show entails.

For extra trope points, the warehouse should feature a large and complex series of catwalks running among the rafters. This allows the villain to position additional Mooks there for the hero to shoot down, and means that he may retreat onto them for the traditional Climbing Climax. There will also be lots and lots of chains hanging from the ceiling for unexplained purposes, as well as lots of water dripping from the roof to give off some nice and eerie clanking and dripping noises for the cat and mouse chase.

An abandoned pier is a common variation. See also Abandoned Hospital. Sometimes overlaps with Darkened Building Shootout.

Common iterations: pre-appointed confrontations, busting up a bunch of Mooks in a video game, and ambushes for the Too Dumb to Live sorts in the cast. In Super Hero settings, there will generally be large amounts of property damage, since "abandoned warehouse" is shorthand for "building we can completely destroy without feeling guilty."

Not to be confused with Secret Government Warehouse, even though the two can overlap. Nor the Abandoned Warehouse District, which exists to be totaled during an even bigger fight.

Warehouses are great locations for film for a few real reasons, though - they're big, open spaces and require little set dressing. Production companies usually already know a lot of local warehouse managers as warehouses make great temporary studio sets when the studio is pressed for space. An empty warehouse (or a half full one) is usually happy to make a few extra bucks by hosting a film, and requires little more than making sure a maintenance guy is on hand to help with power, etc.

In Real Life, abandoning warehouses is rather common which makes this trope Truth in Television. Also see Never Recycle a Building.

Contrast Not-So-Abandoned Building.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The final confrontation of Death Note is deliberately arranged to take place in an abandoned warehouse with no windows and a single entrance.
  • The end of the "Animation USA" episode of Excel Saga was in an abandoned pier, where Excel espoused the virtues of Western and Eastern animation while beating up gangsters.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a warehouse in the two yoyo gang stories and the Mokuba Kaiba capmon game. The Toei Yu-Gi-Oh! series gave a warehouse to the Killer Yo-Yo yoyo gang, the Capumon guy and the guy who plays with 'digital pets'
  • Visoreds in Bleach occupy one in Karakura town. They protect it with forcefields that would turn any random passerbys away and have a giant well-lit cavern underneath to train in.

  • A key part of Spider-Man's origin takes place in an abandoned warehouse.
  • In the Don Rosa story "The Black Knight Glorps Again", Gyro Gearloose hid the Black Knight armor- coated in a universal solvent that dissolves everything but diamonds- in a giant cube of concrete in one such location. While checking to see if it had been stolen, Gyro comments on the ease of finding an abandoned warehouse.

     Fan Works 
  • The climax of With Strings Attached takes place in an abandoned warehouse that's being used to house the Vasyn.
  • It is possible that The Bunker is an abandoned warehouse.
  • In Webwork, Jade takes a fondness to these as her lairs after her transformation into a Jorogumo.
    • Chang also uses one as his base when operating out of Mexico.
  • In Queen of All Oni, Monsieur Verde uses one as his base when operating in San Francisco. Uncle complains about the unoriginality, and says that Section 13 should just buy up all such properties so that they can't do it anymore.

  • John Woo's Hard Boiled has a big two-part shootout in one of these things. The first part has the bad guys led by Johnny Wong shooting up the place because they're taking over the gunrunning operation being run within from Uncle Hoi. The second part has Tequila rappelling in and blowing away the bad guys as only Chow Yun-Fat can.
  • The primary location in Unknown (2006) is an Abandoned Warehouse in the middle of nowhere, where the protagonist are trapped and try to find a away out.
  • Quite a few Hong Kong action movies have shootouts or kung fu battles in warehouses.
  • The final shootout in Hard Target, also directed by John Woo, takes place in a derelict warehouse.
  • Subverted in the 2007 Transformers movie. It looks as though an action scene will take place in one, then the characters move on to somewhere else.
  • The gangs in Death Wish II and Exterminator 2 used abandoned warehouses.
  • The Saw franchise is set almost entirely in abandoned warehouses.
  • It looked like Sam Flynn had made his home out of an abandoned warehouse in TRON: Legacy.
  • Dick Tracy had an abandoned warehouse where Lips Manlis meets his own death by having cement poured on him by the Big Bad.
  • Parodied in Zoolander, where the walk-off is held in "the old Members Only warehouse."
  • The final battle between Connor MacLeod and the Kurgan in Highlander takes place in an abandoned warehouse - which is soon seriously short of window glass.
  • Attack of the Clones ends with Count Dooku reporting to his master in a vacant factory complex.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: The kids lave their La Résistance meeting in Carl's Warehouse.
  • A Hostage for MacGuffin trade takes place in 1986 crime drama 8 Million Ways to Die. The villain is unaware that there are SWAT officers hiding in the rafters of the apparently empty warehouse.
  • Law Abiding Citizen. The Vigilante Man antagonist liquidates his assets and buys a large number of abandoned factories so he can carry out his plans undisturbed.
  • Filipino action films almost always use this trope. Occasionally they'll feature The Cartel's fancy villa instead.
  • Rob Zombie's 31 takes place in an abandoned warehouse.

  • In Sailor Nothing, Dark General Radon demands to meet Himei in an abandoned warehouse after kidnapping her cat.
  • John Connolly: Every Dead Thing has a particularly horrible one of these where Parker discovers the bodies of dozens of murdered children.
  • The Dresden Files: The White Council uses an abandoned warehouse in Chicago for trying and executing violators of the Laws of Magic.
    • Such places turn up numerous times in the series. When used by practioners of black magic, the abandonment is justified in-universe by the fact that even regular people sense something is not right and leave the areas alone.
  • The Port in Septimus Heap is filled with these, mostly for goods impounded by the super-strict Port Customs Office. One of them becomes critical in Physik as the place where the Glass is.
  • The city in Eden Green is going through a decade-long recession, leaving many businesses and warehouses boarded up — perfect hunting grounds for giant alien needle monsters.
  • In "Cold Light", Kane is being hunted by Lord Gaethaa and his men in the town of Sebbei, depopulated by The Plague. He lures two of them into an abandoned warehouse that was used to store textiles. He then proceeds to close the door to cut his enemies from the rest of the group and after a short fight sets the warehouse on fire. He escapes through a hidden tunnel. The other two don't.
  • Discworld:
    • In Thief of Time, Unity bases herself in a roofed space between four industrial buildings, which might once have been a warehouse, but which all four now vaguely assume belongs to one of the others.
    • Played With in case of the Pork Futures Warehouse - it's actually full of future pork (in keeping with the LiteralMindedness of Ankh-Morpork citizens), but it plays similar narrative role as an abandoned warehouse in e.g. Men at Arms and Thud! It's also very cold - with semitransparent carcasses of future pigs as a creepiness bonus.

    Live Action Television 
  • Every episode of the 1960s Batman TV series had the villain's hideout located in an abandoned warehouse.
  • In Arrow Oliver Queen's HQ is underneath one of these — but not for long, as he quickly turns it into a nightclub, giving him an excuse for being there. There are actually repeated instances of abandoned warehouses and other buildings being used as hideouts/bases by various characters throughout the series. To the point that in a Season 3 episode, Ray actually takes the time out of a serious mission to wonder just how many Starling City has.
  • Lampshaded in the Supergirl crossover episode with The Flash, in accordance with the latter's repeated instances.
    Barry: Livewire's ability to absorb the electrical energy in the air surrounding her gave me an idea. So I wrote an algorithm to monitor variations in meter usage around the city, and it all leads to that warehouse. I see bad guys love their abandoned warehouses on your Earth, too, huh?
  • Parodied in the Boy Meets World episode "The Thrilla in Phila." When discussing where their grudge match should take place, Joey the Rat and Cory have the following exchange:
    Joey: "Tonight. Midnight. The abandoned warehouse on seventh."
    Cory: "No. Four o'clock. Feeny's backyard."
    Joey: "No! Eight o'clock! The abandoned shipyard by the pier."
    Cory: "No! Dinnertime! My kitchen!"
    Joey: "Is it abandoned?"
  • Plenty of these in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lampshaded by a deleted line in "Crush" which had Buffy learning of some vampires hanging out in an abandoned warehouse and commenting, "Is there any other kind in Sunnydale?" Another example would be Spike and Drusilla using one as their lair in Season 2.
  • Dingy abandoned warehouses are fairly common battlegrounds for Tokusatsu shows, but they're everywhere in Super Sentai / Power Rangers, giving the Zords and giant monsters an endless supply of empty buildings to crush. The second season even occasionally referred to the "abandoned warehouse district" of the city.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Combat" there is a gang of men who hold death cage matches with Weevils (the vicious stock alien of Torchwood) in empty warehouses.
  • The second episode of Flash Forward had the main characters' investigation of the blackouts lead them to a creepy abandoned warehouse full of dolls hanging from the ceiling.
  • The MythBusters occasionally make use of real abandoned warehouses, usually at NAS Alameda, an abandoned United States Navy base, for testing some of their myths.
  • In Angel, Gunn's gang, as well as some street-level demons, use abandoned warehouses as their living and working area. Cordelia also gives birth to Jasmine inside an abandoned meatpacking plant, which is given a sinister air thanks to its rows of hanging meathooks.
  • Subverted in the Saved by the Bell episode "The Rave". Plans to host a rave at one of these are derailed when it turns out that the warehouse is being turned into a Walmart. "Stupid economic recovery." The episode aired two years before The Simpsons did it.
  • Highlander Immortals seem to favor this trope as sites for their battles to the death or simple sparring practice.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Ashes and Dust" has an arsonist who likes to watch his victims burn to death and a man dying of leukemia who's disgusted and angered that the arsonist is using the group he founded to target victims. The arsonist gets lured by the man to an abandoned building filled with highly flammable material. When the arsonist asks how the man plans to escape, he says, "I don't," and lights the building up, killing them both. Doubles as a Thanatos Gambit and a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Supernatural: Crowley is fond of using abandoned warehouses, factories, and hospitals as his bases.
    • Crowley's hardly the only one; supernatural creatures in general seem to love 'em.
    Dean: Wow, will you look at that? Our ninth abandoned factory. Ain't that America?
  • On Teen Wolf, despite supposedly being an out-of-the-way town in a non-coastal part of California, Beacon Hills has a seemingly endless number of these, with vast, cavernous interiors.
    • In Teen Wolf, this is the current headquarters of Derek and his pack, with a couple of subway cars thrown in for good measure.
  • Parodied in Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown when our heroes find the Docklands are being redeveloped.
    Bonehead: Where's all the wasteland and the disused factories, Foyle?
    Foyle: Where's all the rusty girders?
  • On the Australian show Water Rats the Sydney Water Police often look for runaway kids in abandoned warehouses and other buildings.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Michael uses abandoned warehouses on evacuated worlds through the later seasons to set up his mad science laboratoria and safe houses.

  • Lindsey Stirling's "Spontaneous Me", along with a couple other pieces, include her dancing in empty parking lots or on abandoned and run-down buildings.
  • This trope is the setting for about half of Metal music videos.
  • The Janet Jackson video "The Pleasure Principle" seems to take place in one that was converted into a loft.

    Video Games 
  • City of Heroes. Should require no further explanation.
  • The final parts of First Encounter Assault Recon takes place in an abandoned industrial district full of these.
  • Halo 3 has the multiplayer map Foundry. Notably, it was the first multiplayer map built from the ground up to be customized in Forge. That in turn influenced its design, and a large open warehouse was a logical square shape which could then be filled with any combination of crates and such for terrain.
  • Stan Lee lampshades this cliche in the Spider-Man PlayStation game.
  • A stage like this, appropriately called Vacant Warehouse, appears in Backyard Soccer.
  • The Origami Killer from Heavy Rain has one of these. He uses it as a base where he can kill his victims without drawing suspicion to himself.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series (III and onwards) feature plenty of abandoned warehouses for shootouts. A nice example of this tropes would be in Grand Theft Auto IV when Dimitri arranges with Nico to meet in an abandoned warehouse after Nico killed Faustin, only to have Dimitri turn on him and have a grand shootout.
  • Saints Row 2 has a district of abandoned warehouses, in various states of decay and occupation.
  • Hellgate: London warehouses have the same random layout and collection of enemies as any other maps, but with their specific texture and a few unbreakable crates thrown in for props/obstacles. They can be quite fun if you have an attack that ricochets, off walls, ceilings and floors.
  • A large chunk of the levels in the Unreal series (especially the Tournament games) are described as being abandoned warehouses, factories, smelting plants, stress-testing labs, etc. that have been re-purposed as battle arenas.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has an abandoned warehouse that seems just to be there to loot. Dragon Age II is set in a city chock-full of hiding places for gangs, cults, blood mages and serial killers.
    Fenris: These warehouses are occasionally used to store things. They're not just for clandestine meetings.
  • Many locations in the Carol Reed Mysteries are this.
  • A common sight in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. They tend to provide the best (read: only) defense against the elements in the Zone, and are reliable cover against blowouts, emissions, and bandit attacks.
  • There is one in Cobra Mission near the end of the game. You can find a plot-important item there if you missed it earlier (which is very easy to do). However, there are no traps or enemies inside, so it's something of a subversion.
  • In Left 4 Dead the survivors will usually pass through one or more of these on each level. The warehouse can be either abandoned or are crawling with infected.
  • In Half-Life 2, City 17 and the environs are full of old, rusty, decaying industrial works that have understandably been shuttered since the Combine invasion. There are a few warehouses and piers, but for some reason pride of place goes to the inordinate number of abandoned garages seen during the "Highway 17" chapter.

    Web Comics 
  • Subversion: The Renegades in Elf Blood appear to live in an abandoned warehouse to prying eyes, thanks to judicious application of Pixie Glamour. Inside however, it's reasonably homely and they live there quite comfortably. It's still a warehouse, though.
  • Subverted in Project 0. Owen actually lives in one

    Web Original 
  • The first lonelygirl15 Season Finale had the characters chased into one of these, although they hid and avoided an actual fight.
  • Abandoned warehouses appear in versions one, three, and four of Survival of the Fittest. In V1 A number of fights break out inside of it over the time the act is running, and towards the end, the warehouse is blown up altogether at the culmination in one of the most action packed scenes of the entire first game. The v3 one, on the other hand, is an abandoned military storehouse and (by implication) a rec center where the soldiers played cards. Version 4 has one that apparently used to contain logging supplies, but unfortunately the boxes remain padlocked.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer and Larry Burns are being chased by the police (since they faked a kidnapping) and Homer suggests they hide in a nearby abandoned warehouse. They open the door only to find that it's full of people at work.
    Homer: "D'OH! Stupid economic recovery!"
    • In another episode, Bart buys one for a buck.
  • The future Detroit of Transformers Animated has a surprisingly large number of these, possible due to the "robot revolution" which made many human jobs redundant. The Autobots live in an abandoned warehouse/car factory, the Headmaster has his base in one, Lockdown was able to disguise his ship as one without anyone noticing, and Megatron found yet another one to meet Lockdown and collect Starscream from him. This is a bit justified because abandoned warehouses are one of the few places big enough to house giant robots comfortably.
  • A common locale in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. In one episode, Michaelangelo asked why villains always chose to meet in abandoned warehouses. Raphael told him it was "because there aren't any old, abandoned luxury penthouses!"
    • Later, The Shredder subverts the trope by setting his hiding place in a hotel room, and expecting the Turtles to look for him in abandoned warehouses.
  • In the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode "Double or Nothing", Albedo works on his "bomb" in an abandoned warehouse. Kevin lampshades it.
  • Happens often in Darkwing Duck. It was even lampshaded.
    Darkwing: It always comes down to this Launchpad: You, me, a supervillain craving my destruction and an abandoned warehouse.
    Launchpad: Yeah, I wish for once it could be a roller rink or something.
  • In Sheep in the Big City, Sheep tries to lose General Specific in the "Spotlight, Dry Ice & Ominous Music Warehouse."
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King". Not abandoned since Fugate owns it, but it plays the same role.
    • In the episode "Christmas With The Joker", the Joker's hideout is the abandoned "Laff Co" Toy company warehouse, which has been left abandoned for fourteen years.
  • Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X": Justified by Colonel Flag, when Lawton (AKA Deadshot) observes that the Justice League Spy Satellites could hear them when they celebrate the Suicide Squad reunion on this trope, Flag answers that the guy who abandoned this warehouse had a very good security installation on it.
  • Used frequently in Megas XLR. Signs on buildings reading "Empty Warehouse", "Good thing this is abandoned", and "Abandoned Warehouse District" are common, since it's the writer's favorite trope to make fun of. Of course, there's also the "Gunpowder, Ball Bearing, and Shrapnel Factory", the local public school, and the PoP TV studio.