Abandoned Warehouse

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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.

A common place for a Supervillain Lair. An abandoned pier is a common variation. See also Abandoned Hospital.

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 Superhero 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.

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

Examples of Abandoned Warehouse include:

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.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga 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 Yoyo 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.

Comic Books

  • 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

"Aha. The classic abandoned warehouse. How cliché."


  • 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.
  • Quite a few Hong Kong action movies have shootouts or kung fu battles in warehouses.
  • 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 The 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.
  • The film 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 takes place in an abandoned warehouse - which is soon seriously short of window glass.


  • 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.
  • 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.

Live Action TV

  • Just about every episode of the 1960s Batman TV series had the villain's hideout located in an abandoned warehouse.
  • 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?"
  • In Power Rangers, abandoned warehouses are everywhere. 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 FlashForward 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.
  • 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 now a Starbucks. "Stupid economic recovery." (Who did that joke first, this show or the Simpsons?)
  • 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.


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.
  • 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 GTA 4 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 an entire 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 has an abandoned warehouse that seems just to be there to loot.

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.
  • Evil Inc. is booking available abandoned warehouses in advance, for fighting. It's a supply and demand thing.

Web Original

  • Subverted in Project 0. Owen actually lives in one
  • 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.
  • In Sailor Nothing, Dark General Radon demands to meet Himei in an abandoned warehouse after kidnapping her cat.

Western Animation

  • Subverted in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer and Bart are being chased by a bad guy 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 due to the fact that 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 Super Villain craving my destruction and an abandoned warehouse.
Launchpad: Yeah, I wish for once it could be a roller rink or something.