Written by Kevin Jennings
Rich people are better than the rest of you. That’s why, in the event of some cataclysmic, extinction level event, be it naturally occurring or manmade, it is the wealthy that shall inherit the Earth. After the final bombs drop to conclude a global, nuclear war or the tides recede after massive tsunamis drown out all other life on Earth, it will be survival of the richest, not survival of the fittest. In the event of Armageddon, don’t leave your survival to chance, and don’t go it alone. Purchase a beautiful, subterranean condo with everything you will need to survive, stay in shape, and stay sane.
In 2008, Larry Hall purchased the decommissioned Raven Ridge 11 Atlas missile silo at Raven Ridge, near Concordia, Kansas. The purchase price was just $300,000. A relic of the Cold War era, these silos would normally be abandoned otherwise. Hall, however, had a big idea in store for this 200 foot, extremely secure hole in the ground. He set to work turning this former missile silo into a suite of luxury condos, and after four years of development costing a total of $20 million, the world’s swankiest doomsday shelter was finally complete.
The 14 floor bunker is home to 14 condo units, all of which sold in 2014. These 14 units are spread across only seven of the 14 floors of the silo. They offer a range of half-floor units of about 920 sq ft, full-floor units totaling 1,840 sq ft, and for that extra special VIP there are two story penthouse units offering roughly 3,600 sq ft. After the successful conversion of the first missile solo, Hall purchased a second one housing 12 more units. These all sold in 2017, though they are still under construction. As of 2020, it appears that 6 units have gone back on the market.
So what exactly does this luxurious shelter to wait out the apocalypse cost? A half-floor unit starts at $1.5 million, a full floor unit starts at $3 million, and the penthouse is an absolute steal starting at only $4.5 million, a 25% savings per square foot compared to the other options. Remember however that these are the starting prices, and units can definitely go for more. The condo interiors can be custom designed, giving each individual buyer the opportunity to run up their bill considerably depending on just how bespoke they want their hibernation quarters to be.
When you purchase one of these condos, you are actually purchasing a “condo package”. The package includes much more than just the property itself. First is the fully furnished and customized interior we just mentioned. Other perks included in these package are mundane items seemingly designed to fill out the ad copy, such as “computer access to condo systems.” If someone is shelling out millions of dollars to purchase one of these condos, something like “control over the thermostat” should be a bit of a given.
More notably, however, the package includes a three year supply of food per occupant of the condo, and what Survival Condo refers to as “mandatory training.” There is no explanation as to what the mandatory training entails, and given that the condos are supposed to be able to house people for up to 5 years during a disaster scenario, it is unclear if residents will be required to fork over more cash after the third year if they want to continue to eat.
You may be wondering what the interior of these condos is like. The answer, of course, is that they’re largely like any other condo, but with fancier furnishings and potentially a hundred feet underground. A half floor unit can have 1 or 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and living room, and is designed for 3-5 people. A full floor ups the room count to 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, designed for 6-10 people.
Each unit includes standard amenities like state of the art kitchen appliances, as well as some less common additions such as a washer and dryer in every unit and a Jacuzzi tub in every bathroom. It’s nice to know that residents will not have to waste their precious time during an apocalypse trying to find quarters for a communal, coin operated laundry room.
And of course, what would modern living be without everyone’s favourite invention, the television. The survival condos are all fitted with numerous televisions, though there is only a single big screen LED TV in each unit intended for entertainment purposes. The other TVs serve as simulated windows to give residents a view of outside to help reduce the stress of living underground. Residents can choose a city (or rural location) and have a 24 hour loop of that location playing in their windows. There is more than one recording, so if you wanted to experience the seasons changing in New York City, your simulated window could provide that experience. Just remember that each electronic window comes at a cost of $15,000, so it may be worth skipping that window in the bathroom.
Naturally, the condos receive satellite television rather than a cable line, though they do also have internet access. The quality of the internet is not specified, but as these condos were built in the 2010s for the wealthy elite, it is probably safe to assume they are equipped with high-speed fiber optic lines. Whether internet or satellite TV would be operation during a global catastrophe is anyone’s guess, but residents would still have access to the on-site digital weather station as well as the CCTV security system feeds to keep themselves entertained inside their condos.
Ultimately, despite their high price tag and rather novelty setting, inside the condo units themselves feels just like living in a normal condo or house. Owners of the units have access to them any time they want, and many use them as vacation homes. While staying in their survival condos, some have said that it feels like a normal house, and you can even forget that you’re underground.
Because there are numerous condos housed in the same missile silo, it only makes sense that there would be some number of communal activity rooms for residents to enjoy. After all, a fake window can only entertain a person for so long.
The top floor of the survival condos is a massive dome. Residents can drive right inside and park their cars in the dome, and this ground level also includes a full size, indoor swimming pool, a rock climbing wall, and a pet park where people can bring their cats or dogs (so long as the dog is under 70 pounds and generally well behaved and quiet). This also allows residents a nice, somewhat outdoor area to go stretch their legs. And don’t worry, in addition to stairs, there is also elevator access so no one will have to walk up 12 flights of stairs to go for a swim in the pool.
This above ground level also features the saddest arcade the world has ever seen. Featuring only two arcade cabinets, Super Breakout and Pac-Man’s Arcade Party, and a foosball table, it makes one wonder why this $20 million construction project couldn’t have shelled out a couple extra dollars for some more arcade games.
Below the residential levels are four more communal floors. One features a classroom and library. The classroom is naturally there in the event long term residency is necessary so that the children can still receive an education. The library it seems is more symbolic in nature, representing something that wealthy people would deem important but never actually use. This assumption is derived from the fact that the library’s shelves appear to be almost entirely empty.
What is not empty however, because priorities, is the bar. While the exact assortment of sprits available is unknown, at the bare minimum we know that the owner of one of the condos donated 2,600 bottles of wine for the bar, because nobody wants to have to ride out the end of the world while sober.
The lower floors also include a gym full of various exercise machines, and a movie theater. The theater contains 18 leather recliners and has a catalogue of 2,000 movies available for viewing. There is also an emergency supply room full of camouflage gear and duct tape, and a medical bay with adjoining registered pharmacy able to carry 7 years worth of medications for each resident.
Finally, what American emergency survival shelter would be complete without guns, lots and lots of guns. The survival condos feature an indoor shooting range, stocked with everything you could want to fire ranging from handguns to sniper rifles. Hopefully proper firearm safety is part of the mandatory training that owners of these condos have to go through.
Security and Survival
Naturally, a facility like this needs to be a secure location; that’s the entire point of converting an underground missile silo into luxury condos. The individual units feature biometric locks, but first you would need to get into the facility. With most of the complex being underground and it being located in a remote area in Kansas, the first hurdle would be to find it. The company keeps the location of their condos highly confidential, and it is definitely not at 39.412° north latitude, 97.681° west longitude, according to Wikipedia.
If someone were to drive to definitely not that location, they would find the entrance to the ground level dome. All that would stand between that person and entrance into your survival condo is a pair of steel doors weighing 8 tons each. And also all of the other military grade security including CCTV that is constantly monitored, heavily armed security staff, an automatic gun turret, and a variety of other security measures, both lethal and non-lethal.
But any survival enthusiast can tell you that there’s more to long term disaster planning than just guns. People also need access to food and water. We already mentioned that the condo package includes a 3 year supply of food, but residents won’t be forced to survive on nothing but processed foods. Though there is a massive food store, fully stocked with items showcasing a 35 year shelf life, there is also an entire floor dedicated to hydroponics and aquaculture. This ensures that in addition to all of the preserved foods that one might expect, there is also access to fresh produce, albeit a somewhat limited selection.
There is also a water filtration system to ensure clean water, and while the survival condos do have access to grid power, there are multiple backups in case the power grid goes down. The facility contains two diesel generators and has wind turbines outside to collect wind power for the multiple rechargeable power sources. Even completely cut off from the rest of the world, residents should be able to enjoy their condo as a luxury resort for up to 5 years without having to worry about food, water, air, or electricity. And with thousands of movies in the cinema and tens of books in the library, the lack of television and internet in this disaster scenario should remain bearable.
So you’ve purchased a survival condo in case of the worst, but you don’t want to live there year round. What happens in the event the worst does occur? Luckily, Larry has planned for that. The details are classified and only available to condo owners, but upon purchase of a survival condo, a personalized extraction plan will be created for the owner and their family to ensure their safe and swift transport to the facility so they can ride out whatever terrifying event is threatening all of humanity.
A Not So Novel Idea
You might be thinking to yourself that, while needlessly extravagant for a glorified bomb shelter, this sounds like an incredibly creative idea. However, it turns out that purchasing and repurposing decommissioned missile silos is nothing new. In fact, one of the first such endeavors took place back in 1969.
In 1961, also in Kansas, a similar underground silo was home to a command center and one of nine Atlas nuclear missiles at the time. The site was closed in 1964, and it remained empty for 5 years. On behalf of the Jackson Heights school district, Duane Johnson purchased the abandoned military site from the federal government for the price of a single, crisp dollar bill. After a few modifications, the command center was opened as a high school in August of 1969.
In 1975, a second building was constructed at the location to house elementary and middle school students. The school is still open to this day, and it had not undergone any major renovations or redesigns until 2007. After this expansion, the subterranean rooms that had previously held classes now became storage, with all of the students above ground. Still, Kansas students for nearly 40 years, including after the turn of the millennium, had the opportunity to attend classes underground in an abandoned nuclear missile silo. It was probably a great conversation starter at college parties for those who attended college out of state.
Not everyone can afford Larry’s luxury survival condos. Even if you think you have the means, liquidity is extremely important. Most banks won’t offer financing for a survival condo, so you’ll have to expect to pay in cash. Spots are also extremely limited, but luckily there is another option. Survival Condo can build a custom bunker on your property (following an on-site feasibility study). These bunkers can be designed to your specifications, and they can be as large as 300,000 sq ft. Prices estimates aren’t listed for these custom builds, but you can rest assured it’s a lot.
For those who can’t afford to buy their own underground survival bunker, you can always rent the experience. Next time you travel to Roswell, New Mexico for a UFO convention, why not book a stay in a room underground in an Atlas nuclear missile silo on Airbnb? Or if you’re in Vilonia, Arkansas, Airbnb has you covered there as well with a refitted Titan nuclear missile complex. While buying a survival condo will run you millions of dollars, merely renting a room for the night will cost you $350 in New Mexico or $400 in Arkansas.
While those prices are certainly well above average for a stay in an Airbnb, it’s a small price to pay for the once in a life time experience of sleeping hundreds of feet underground in a nuclear missile silo. Probably. We’re not really sure if that’s a good deal as there’s not a lot of competition in this area, but when the next cheapest alternative cost $1.5 million, it certainly seems affordable by comparison.