Until his death in 1994, Lex Luthor was considered by many to be the conscience of the city, a father-like figure to some, a boss and employer to others.
Despite his fall - both literally and figuratively - the fact remains that LexCorp and its holdings employs nearly three-quarters of Metropolis. Following the fall of the house of Luthor, LexCorp has been broken up into several smaller but still prosperous companies.
Heavy manufacturing has been the backbone of Metropolis's economy for years, thanks to both the naval base and a thriving shipping industry. Metrosteel, Hob's ForgeWorks, and Perry Limited have been constructing parts for ships and other large-scale applications for the past 80 years.
These major manufacturing firms are located along the riverbank of Bakerline. Still a relative newcomer to heavy manufacturing in the city, LexCorp opened a facility in the Bakerline borough 12 years ago, mainly to build parts for the LexAir fleet, and has diversified into steel manufacturing, construction of building supplies, and production of components for LexOil's mining efforts.
While the city has thousands of construction firms, these four companies are responsible for most of the city's infrastructure. Indeed, the city's most recognizable landmark, the Daily Planet globe, which sits atop the building, was cast by Metrosteel in 1900 as a centennial gift to the Planet from then-owner Josiah Berkeley. The city's other companies then followed, each adding their own signature item on the city's landscape, leading to the saying that "What Bakerline Builds, Builds Metropolis."
Dominated by LexAir, the company founded by Lex Luthor shortly after his record-setting flight of the experimental LexWing around the world, the aeronautics industry of Metropolis has been good to the city for over 15 years, beginning with the Department of Defense contract awarded to Luthor after that initial flight.
Currently, the bulk of Metropolis's aeronautics industry is located in Secord Park, an industrial incubator near Metropolis International Airport. Here, LexAir has their corporate office, testing hangars, and developmental laboratories. EPRAD, Extra Planetary Research And Development has labs and offices and a launching facility just outside Secord Park. It was the rescue of EPRAD's passenger shuttle that first brought Superman to the attention of the world.
Thanks to its location and the natural harbor of Hob's Bay, Metropolis has been one of the eastern seaboard's major ports since the mid-1700s. Today, Hob's Bay ship traffic is almost exclusively LexCorp-owned ships, which transport over two billion metric tons of cargo every month. Cargo is then moved to locations inland by truck and train.
Hob's Bay has 57 berthing piers, each with a variable amount of warehouse space and facilities. Piers 1 through 40 are owned and operated by LexCorp, while the city owns and operates Piers 41 through 57.
Handling over 14 cargo ships per day, Hob's Bay is one of the Atlantic seaboard's busiest ports. In addition, 26 commercial piers are located on the western side of New Troy. These piers are used by local ferries and cruise ships. A much higher-rent district than Hob's Bay, there is virtually no cargo traffic at these piers.
At the request of the EPA, LexCorp has constructed special "safe berths" for ships hailing from unknown ports or those without LexCorp's BallastClear technology, which kills all organic life in a ship's ballast tank and prevents xenobiotic contamination of Rob's Bay. The safe berths house ships for 24 hours as their ballast water is flushed and cleaned. As all ships coming into Metropolis's ports are required by city ordinances to have xenobiotic-clear ballast water, cargo ships have been forced to either adopt the BallastClear technology or wait 24 hours before unloading their cargo. Such efforts by the city will hopefully prevent an outbreak of parasitic organisms in Metropolis waters and the waters of surrounding regions, as all are still vital fishing grounds.
Health & Medical
A relatively new field in Metropolis, the city's health and medical businesses have progressed steadily but slowly, led by Cornelius/Krieg Pharmaceutical. Recently it received a jump-start with the relocation of Tyler Chemical and WorldPharmCo's Gotham labs to Metropolis following the Gotham City earthquake. Both companies have quickly made themselves at home, taking advantage of the large number of available, well-educated workers. In addition, all three companies, in friendly competition, have founded scholarships at all of Metropolis's colleges and universities, encouraging students to pursue chemistry and pharmacology. The medical industry of the city has also been helped by the declassification of Project Cadmus, one of the government's formerly secret genetic laboratories located in the Kirby Mountains north of the city. While the main Project Cadmus facility remains in the mountains, three Project Cadmus remote labs have opened in Metropolis. Each is staffed by researchers looking to turn Project Cadmus's advances in genetics and cloning into products and medicines that will benefit the health and welfare of all humankind.
Of course, the University of Metropolis's Medical College is still regarded as one of the finest in the nation. It consistently wins awards for excellence in research in medicine.
As home to LexCorp's LexComp computer branch, Project Cadmus, and regional offices of WayneTech, Kord Research and Development, Dayton Industries, and S.T.A.R. Labs, as well as over 200 other high-tech firms, Metropolis leads the nation in high-tech jobs and output.
This combined with LexCon, the nation's leading electronic and high-tech trade show, held every spring at the Metropolis Convention Center and Towers, gives the world ample reasons to look to Metropolis for advances in industrial technology as well as consumer electronics.
S.T.A.R. Labs is another major player in the city's technology scene, providing jobs for over a thousand residents in its main Queensland Park laboratory facility, offices downtown, and in Secord Park. While S.TA.R. Labs does not manufacture any of the technology it creates or refines, it does sell licenses to other companies, who then may produce items utilizing the technology. Given its pure research approach to science and technology as well as its dependence on license fees for its operating budget, S.T.A.R. Labs is one of Metropolis's most security conscious businesses, often requiring a four-day waiting period to acquire a visitor's pass.
Consumer electronics in Metropolis are represented by a number of companies, the largest of which is GoTronics (formerly GoToys). Thanks to their success with their King's Feud game - both as a board game and as a video game - as well as savvy business leadership, GoTronics has become a leader in personal high-tech audio, computers, and of course, numerous forms of entertainment.
Metropolis is the media capital of the country, with many newspapers, television, and Web-based information sources located within the city limits. As such, a sizable portion of the city's economy derives from communications, both on a local and national level. Lining the outer edges of the Queensland Tech Corridor, which is centered on S.T.A.R. Labs, Metropolis is currently home to 18 different communication firms that do everything from designing better cellular phones to increasing the efficiency of fiber-optic lines to building full-range stereo speakers the size of a quarter. This is one of the city's fastest growing sectors.
Metropolis also has its share of publishing houses, from tiny vanity presses to international firms. Although most of the actual printing, particularly of books, is done in other parts of the country, a wide variety of print media originates here, including, books, magazines, and newspapers in many genres and numerous languages. Among the top Metropolis publishers are LexPublishing, Primo Publishing, the National Whisper, and the Daily Planet. (Refer to "The Media" section for more information on this industry)
While LexCorp Tower still dominates the downtown Metropolis skyline, other buildings house regional headquarters for national banking firms and investment groups. Led by the Luthor Financial Group, which covers personal and professional finance and investments, the city's banking community is second to none in the nation, easily securing Metropolis's position as the wealthiest city in the country and the third wealthiest in the world.
Six other major banks and investment firms are headquartered in Metropolis: BankUSA, Washington Savings, the Franklin Group, Wayne Financial, Savage Banking Group, and Queen Investments. Each has its own building within a six-block radius of LexCorp Tower.
The city has its own mercantile exchange that dates back to the 1800s. It is located in McTierny Hall, three blocks north of LexCorp Tower, on the fabled "golden row" where all the companies represented by the Dow Jones industrial average have corporate offices, provided by Lex Luthor himself. It is rumored that when a company falls off the Dow Jones index, as many have recently, representatives from the companies that replace them often pass the departing companies' workers on their way out, and the office signs are changed within two hours of the announcement.
Thanks to the long-standing bull market, Metropolis's banking community has seen an amazing growth in the last four years, and its rate continues to astound analysts.
Data from the Daily Planet Guide to Metropolis, from WEG
Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel (Hardcover) by Scott Beatty (Author)
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