Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: During the Cold War, the US government built numerous missile silos in secret locations across the country. Many sit empty and useless today. But there’s one in an undisclosed location north of Wichita, Kansas, that has taken on a new purpose. Welcome to the $3 million doomsday-proof condo.
Larry Hall: It’s not the luxury that drives the cost, it’s the caliber of the infrastructure and the threats you’re protecting against, and, most importantly, the duration that you can be off-grid for.
Narrator: It’s 15 stories deep with walls up to 9 feet thick that can withstand a direct nuclear impact. In 2008, Larry Hall bought the property for $300,000.
Hall: We said, “Hey, if we’re gonna build a high-end bunker, I’d hate to, like, need protection for two years and only have designed it for one and a half years.” So we said, “What would we have to do to make this place capable of sustaining people indefinitely?” And that turned out to be quite a cost-driver.
Narrator: Hall’s team spent nearly $20 million to turn the missile silo into a secure shelter for 12 families. They installed three redundant power supplies, three separate water sources and a water filtration system, aquaponic farming, and hydroponic food. Then, with the help of a consultant, the team developed a plan to deal with the human factors of off-grid living.
Hall: You need to make life as normal as it can be because subconsciously, your brain keeps track of abnormal activities.
Narrator: The team added a swimming pool, gym, rock climbing wall, movie theater, dog park, and more.
Hall: What you really wanna do is make sure that people feel productive, so you’re gonna need everyone to be working four-hour workdays, and every 30 days, people will rotate jobs so you don’t have any single points of failure and everybody knows how to do all of the jobs there.
Narrator: The infrastructure is designed to sustain 75 people for five years. The idea was so popular that every unit sold before construction ended. The project is just one example of success in the growing survival market.
Announcer: The basement box-type shelter is stronger, larger, and more comfortable. Outdoors, you can build an earth-covered shelter, which affords the best protection against blasts, fire, radiation, and radioactive fallout.
Narrator: Doomsday prepping isn’t a new idea. In the ’50s and ’60s, houses were built with bunkers, and shelters started popping up during the Cold War. Today’s preppers have plenty of survival shelter options. They can choose from converted shipping containers to houses designed to stand up to natural disasters to survival communities with country club amenities. Doomsday preppers can also prepare for emergencies with a multitude of survival products ranging from water filters and freeze-dried food to gas masks and emergency power sources.
Hall: They worry about world events and natural events and the things that they see in the news more frequently. People that call and worry about things like a global economic collapse, there’s people that worry about the flu. Every flu season that comes around, people worry about some type of a global pandemic. It just seems like anything that could translate into a larger dilemma could present itself as a problem.
Narrator: And market activity backs that up. Sales spikes occur after natural disasters. For example, Mountain House, a freeze-dried food distributor, reported that sales of food made to last for 25 years increased fourteenfold after Hurricane Katrina. Fears about the economy and foreign relations are heightened during major elections and commonly cause sales to jump. In the week after Barack Obama’s re-election, one website sold $400,000 of prepackaged meals, which depleted the company’s inventory. Doomsday Prep, a store in Georgia, reported a 15% growth in year-over-year sales since Donald Trump’s election in 2016.
Hall: It’s kinda funny how it seesaws with who’s in the White House. When the rhetoric was hot and heavy between Trump and Kim Jong-un in North Korea, there was a real big spike in phone calls.
Narrator: Prep and Save, a survival equipment store in California, reported similar spikes. The store saw a 200-400% increase in business in the days following the threats. The size of the market is difficult to calculate. But in 2012, public spending on emergency prep was estimated at $500 million and an additional $1 billion from the government and NGOs. The fears driving these purchases aren’t as rare as you might think. An estimated 35% of Americans believe an event will happen that will lead to the end of the world.
Hall: All of our owners have been self-made millionaires by definition, and they’re from all walks of life. They like the concept of having this safe harbor, and then they also comment about what peace of mind they get from owning it. It’s like they had this worry that they weren’t consciously aware of, but after they bought it, they realized that they feel like a burden has been lifted.
Narrator: To meet demand, Hall and his team are building a second silo that’s three times the size of the original.