When Tyler Allen agreed to fork over $3 million in cash for a luxury condominium near Concordia, Kan., he wasn’t attracted by the indoor swimming pool, 17-seat movie theater, or hydroponic vegetable garden.
The real selling point of the 1,820-square-foot apartment: It will be buried 174 feet underground in a decommissioned missile silo sturdy enough to withstand a nuclear attack.
Mr. Allen, a 45-year-old Orlando, Fla., sports bar and nightclub owner, insists he isn’t a “tinfoil hat-wearing” type preparing for the end of the world.
Rather, he cites growing security threats—such as a global health pandemic, cataclysmic weather and terror attacks.
“There’s a Camp David for the president,” he says. “If you’re at a certain level where you can afford it, you can get that, too.”
The so-called Survival Condo complex boasts full and half-floor units that cost $1.5 million to $3 million each. The building can accommodate up to 75 people, and buyers include doctors, scientists and entrepreneurs, says developer Larry Hall.
Mr. Hall, who lives in a Denver suburb, bought his first missile-silo site in Kansas in 2008 and completed construction in December 2012. A year later, he says, the development had sold out. Work on the second security compound—the one where Mr. Allen bought a unit—is under way, and Mr. Hall says he is considering additional sites in Texas and elsewhere.
As former nuclear missile sites built under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers, the structures were originally designed to withstand a direct hit by a nuclear bomb. At ground level, they can be sealed up by two armored doors weighing 16,000 pounds each. Mr. Hall added sophisticated water and air-treatment facilities, state-of-the-art computer network technology and several alternate power generation capabilities.
The projects tap into an undercurrent of angst among some affluent folks that has persisted since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. The global financial crisis and now the possible dangers posed by the Ebola virus and the rise of Islamic State have fueled their safety concerns.
The condos, his company claims, can make it possible to lead an uninterrupted life of luxury underground. In addition to the standard perks—which also include a spa, dog park, fitness center and medical facilities—the complex has enough emergency food on hand to last for up to five years. There’s also a holding cell for unruly occupants.
SOURCE: LIZ MOYER
Wall Street Journal