Business

Survival of the richest

  • Survive in luxury: whatever view the buyer wants can be seen through from these survival units
  • Built to last: a Bermudian-based businessman is one of the buyers of a survival unit in Kansas

A Bermudian tycoon has bought a luxury condo in a former US nuclear missile silo designed for the super-rich to shelter from disasters.

The businessman paid up to $4.5 million for an apartment in the Survival Condo Project complex, near Witchita in Kansas — and asked for it to be decorated in island pastels of orange, green and yellow.

But Larry Hall, chief executive officer of the Survival Condo Project, said the unnamed businessman found the colour scheme oppressive at close quarters — and asked his interior decorator to redo the apartment.

The site, built in a silo hardened against a nuclear strike and which once houses a US Atlas nuclear missile, is protected by gun-toting guards equipped with armoured vehicles.

Mr Hall said: “It’s true relaxation for the ultra-wealthy. They can come out here, they know that there are armed guards outside. The kids can run around.”

The Bermuda connection to the secret shelter was revealed as Mr Hall spoke to the New Yorker magazine, which recently highlighted a trend by the super-rich to prepare for the breakdown of civilisation.

He said he got the idea to create the shelter around a decade ago after he read that the US government was reinvesting in catastrophe planning, which had declined rapidly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Mr Hall added: “I started saying, ‘Well, wait a minute, what does the government know that we don’t know?’”

He bought the silo, decommissioned in 1965, for $300,000 in 2008 and invested a further $20 million to create 12 private apartments, backed up by food and fuel to last five years, a medical centre and a swimming pool.

The complex also features a rock-climbing wall, an AstroTurf pet park, a classroom, gym, movie theatre and library, with the overall design based on luxury cruise ships — and a large armoury, packed with guns and ammunition to fight off any attack by outsiders.

Owners can be picked up in the company’s armoured Pit Bull VX trucks from anywhere within 400 miles, while plane owners can land at an airfield around 30 miles from the site.

The condo walls are fitted with LED “windows” that show a live video of the surrounding prairie, but can be customised according to the wishes of the owners, one of whom wanted video of New York’s Central Park.

The first development is now sold out and the company is converting another silo, with apartments ranging from $1.5 million to $4.5 million.

One owner who agreed to be identified in the New Yorker article, wealthy Florida real estate developer Tyler Allen, said he worried that the US faced a future of “social conflict” and efforts by its government to deceive the public.

Mr Allen added that he believed the killer Ebola virus was allowed to enter America to weaken the population.

He said: “Ten years ago, this just seemed crazy that all this was going to happen — the social unrest and the cultural divide in the country, the race-baiting and the hate-mongering.”

The New Yorker said that Silicon Valley billionaires were among the most enthusiastic about preparing for doomsday.

Steve Huffman, the 33-year-old co-founder of the $600 million Reddit site, said: “I’ve heard this theme from a bunch of people.

“Is the country going to turn against the wealthy? Is it going to turn against technological innovation? It it going to turn into civil disorder?”