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Economy & Business

Luxury Condos To Prepare For Doomsday


Each year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists updates the doomsday clock. The nonprofit panel of scientists and scholars uses the clock to symbolize just how close we are to the apocalypse, which is set at midnight. And last Friday, they moved the clock forward and set the time at two and a half minutes to midnight, the most dire assessment since 1953.

But there's always a silver lining for some. Bad news for humanity could be good news for Larry Hall, or at least his bottom line. He's the CEO of the Survival Condo Project. To tell us more, he joins me now from Kansas. I think you are, sir, about a hundred feet underground.

LARRY HALL: I am. And the wonders of technology have us talking.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: First of all, what is a survival condo?

HALL: Well, a survival condo, in our context, is a converted Atlas F missile silo that was a mainstay in the Cold War era that once housed an intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile. And the silo itself was designed to withstand a direct nuclear shock wave and still be able to launch the missile that was protected inside of it. So we have converted that structure into a modern-day, luxury survival bunker.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I understand it's about 15 stories.

HALL: It is. If you went from the floor on the bottom, which we call level 15 - from that bottom floor to the top of the elevator shaft is about 201 feet.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think people are quite familiar with survivalist bunkers of different descriptions. But this is built as a luxury bunker. Describe some of the amenities that you have there.

HALL: Well, it's kind of like a miniature cruise ship. We have everything from a bar and a lounge to a movie theater. We've got a library. We have continuing education classrooms for the children. All the apartments in here have 9-foot ceilings, and they range from just over 900 square feet to just over 3,600 square feet.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Who are the types of people who are looking for something like this? What are their motivations?

HALL: People's fears and the people that have the financial resources to purchase these, you know, run the spectrum. There is no preponderance of one group over another. We've got Republicans and Democrats. And we've got people that are very much fearful of global climate change. And the big difference there is they argue about what causes it. You know, some people, you know, believe that it's a man-made event and other people believe that it's a natural phenomenon. But neither group disagrees that it's happening.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm curious - what are they asking for? What are the special things that they want to decorate their bunker with?

HALL: They ask for high-end appliances. They ask for extra electronic windows.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are they? For someone who wouldn't know - I'm sort of trying to visualize it.

HALL: Picture a 55-inch LED TV. Instead of being in what we would call horizontal mode, you tip it so that it's in portrait-mode and hook it up to a high-definition camera that's on the surface. And you can change the scenes. And so right now, I'm sitting 100 feet under, and I'm looking at my wind turbine on the surface. And I can tell that it's daylight. And for all practical purposes, I can't tell that I'm a 100 feet underground.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How long can someone survive down there?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, we have food for every person for at least five years. But we also have organic hydroponics and aquaculture, which is the raising fish. And with the wind turbine, the green energy, technically the requirement is that, you know, given the wind and everything else and raising our own food, we could be off grid indefinitely.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Larry Hall, CEO of the Survival Condo Project, thank you so much.

HALL: Thank you very much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.