Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Resort for the Apocalypse

Rising S Bunkers, one of several companies that specialize in high-end shelters—its Presidential model includes a gym, a workshop, a rec room, a greenhouse, and a car depot —says sales of its $500,000-plus units increased 700 percent last year. (This compares with a more modest 150 percent increase across other Rising S units.) Bunker companies won’t disclose customers’ names, but Gary Lynch, Rising S’s CEO, told me his clients include Hollywood actors and “highly recognizable sports stars.” Other luxury shelters are marketed to businesspeople, from bankers to Bill Gates, who is rumored to have bunkers beneath his houses in Washington State and California.

Whereas Cold War shelters, by design, were near the home and easy to get to, a handful of bunker companies are building entire survival communities in remote locations. Some of them share literal foundations with Cold War buildings: One project, Vivos XPoint, involves refurbishing 575 munitions-storage bunkers in South Dakota; Vivos Europa One, in Germany, is a Soviet armory turned luxury community with a subterranean swimming pool.

By contrast, Trident Lakes, a 700-acre, $330 million development in Ector, Texas, an hour and a half north of Dallas, is being built from scratch. Marketed as a “5-star playground, equipped with defcon 1 preparedness,” it is the project of a group of investors who incorporated as Vintuary Holdings. According to James O’Connor, the CEO, Trident Lakes “is designed for enjoyment like any other resort.” (This pitch is rather different from its Cold War–era counterparts: A 1963 bunker advertisement from the Kelsey-Hayes company shows a family tucked under its home, with just rocking chairs for comfort.)

In some regards, the plans for Trident Lakes do resemble those for a resort. Amenities will include a hotel, an athletic center, a golf course, and polo fields. The community is slated to have 600 condominiums, ranging in price from $500,000 to $1.5 million, each with a waterfront view (to which end, three lakes and 10 beaches will be carved out of farmland). Other features are more unusual: 90 percent of each unit will be underground, armed security personnel will guard a wall surrounding the community, and there will be helipads for coming and going.

by Ben Rowan, The Atlantic |  Read more:
Image: Chris Philpot