Decades ago, during the Cold War, many Americans built bomb shelters in their back yards to provide shelter in the event of nuclear war.
Now, American engineer and software developer Larry Hall has created a unique project where humans can live in the space that previously sheltered nuclear missiles.
Hall calls his project, which he’s building in two decommissioned Atlas missile silos in rural Kansas, the “Luxury Survival Condo.” Phase one of the project is sold out, with construction nearing completion. Hall expects residents to begin moving into their condos near the end of the year. Construction on the second phase is underway.
Though built for people who expect to face a future disaster — either natural or man-made — Hall said his clients are not your typical “survival nuts” as portrayed in the media. To the contrary, they are successful, educated, and well-to-do individuals who simply want peace of mind in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
And well-to-do there are, indeed. Going price for the three distinct models is $3 million (US) for a full-floor, 171 square metre apartment; $1.5 million for a half-floor unit of 85 square metres; and $4.5 million for a two-floor penthouse of 297 square metres. The full-floor layouts are designed for six to 10 people, while the half-floor layouts are designed for three to five people.
The project is designed much like a typical luxury high-rise, with the addition of numerous amenities that make it self sufficient for up to 70 residents for up to five years. Key features include grid connection for electricity, combined with four back-up systems: a 100-kilowatt wind turbine, a battery bank, and two diesel generators.
The facility has on-site water treatment through a carbon pre-filter, UV sterilisers, ozone, and reverse osmosis filtration that feed into reserve tanks holding a minimum of about 285,000 litres. That water is used by residents and by on-site hydroponic gardening and aquaculture for raising fish for consumption. These systems are largely automated, Hall said, with automatic nutrient monitoring systems and temperature controls.
Air quality is handled through redundant air filtration including nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) filtration.
Interior amenities are typical for luxury condos, including high-end stainless appliances, Kohler bathroom fixtures, and Jacuzzi spa tubs. Other amenities include:
- Indoor shooting range
- Indoor pool and spa
- Exercise facility
- Rock climbing wall
- Dog park
- Classroom and library
- Movie theater
- Game arcade
- Medical facility
- Digital weather station
Security features should be robust, though Hall would give few details apart from “a military grade security system that includes thermal imaging systems as well as both lethal and non-lethal defensive capabilities.”
The silos were built in 1960 of epoxy-reinforced concrete up to three metres thick that extends 53 metres into the earth. The silos will be capped with a monolithic dome capable of withstanding wind speeds up to 800 kilometres per hour, far above the highest recorded wind speed of the tornadoes that are common in Kansas.
Originally only 72 of the Atlas missile silos were built. After the Cold War, they were decommissioned and available for purchase and re-purposing. Hall said the project site was inspected by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and State of Kansas officials and given the green light for re-development.
Though the silos were originally built to withstand a nuclear blast, condo buyers today consider the project as protection for their families against an array of potential events, such as natural disasters, climate change, economic collapse, and civil unrest.