missile silo

How to Buy Your Own Missile Silo

23 Mar 2008 2008-03-23 26
Posted by J. Wallace

So, you are interested in your own missile silo? Well first, check out these videos to learn the basics…

Building Your Own Missile Silo

During the Cold War, America was full of holes, and each one contained a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. For every missile there was an underground command center (called a capsule) with two military officers on duty for 24 hours at a time, each one holding a launch key. If the officers got the right command from on high, they would verify with a countersign, insert their keys and launch the missile– bye bye bad guys. It takes two keys to launch, insuring that a rogue maniac couldn’t start his own WWIII, at least not without driving his partner in the capsule to the same brand of crazy.

missile silo
(image courtesy: Seth Woodworth)

Fortunately, nobody ever had to turn their keys in real life, only in training missions that simulated an underhanded attack by dirty commies. Now a lot of these sites are abandoned, decommissioned under anti-nuclear proliferation treaties and other negotiations. When the government sold these off at bargain-basement prices, savvy investors scooped them up and now resell them to anyone with an urge to live underground and with no windows. GearCrave got the scoop…after the jump learn how you can track down and bid on your very own post-nuclear missile silo home.

missile silo tour
(image courtesy: Kerinin)

Buying a missile silo for your very own is really like purchasing any piece of real estate. You need to scope out the property, see if you like the area and check out the neighbors. Well, chances are there won’t be ANY neighbors anywhere close by. Missile silos were built away from populated areas, behind miles of fenceline and under armed guard. Some people like the idea of all that solitude, and if that’s you, life on the (former) nuclear prairie could be for you. If you are in the market for one of these throwbacks to the Cold War, here’s some food for thought:

  • Buying a missile silo means buying multiple acres.
  • Silos are on decommissioned military bases or military annexes and are often far away from towns or cities.
  • Your missile silo may be located near an EPA Superfund pollution cleanup site. Do your homework before buying.
  • Have the site appraised by a real estate professional, but understand that your costs for the property may be inflated due to the unusual nature of the property. You may pay “seller’s market” rates for such a site rather than realistic prices.
  • You may need a generator or a special arrangement with a local power company for electrical service.
  • Certain features such as blast doors and other unique missile silo construction may require structural evaluation after 30 years or more of disuse.

A missile silo site is what real estate types call “a real fixer-upper.” Some sites are flooded, need serious mold abatement, and will definitely require you to do a renovation. After all, once upon a time, it looked like this:


Now imagine this space flooded with water, stripped of its electronics, and 30 years of stale air. Yuck. That’s not to say that it can’t be done. In Dover, Kansas, Edward and Dianna Peden converted a missile facility into Subterra Castle, an interesting underground home and event space. Check out what the Pedens did with their site, originally purchased for about $40K back in the 80s.

If you aren’t a DIY type, the renovations for a missile silo could wind up costing plenty, but if you have the spare change to throw around, why not? The only trick now is to find a seller. If you want to investigate, fear not–we’ve saved you a bit of time. Here are two of the key players in missile silo real estate:

  • Siloworld.com –the only drawback here is that you get seller phone numbers and prices, but no photos or other info. Still worth looking into for those seller details.
  • MissileSilos.com–the terms on the properties listed here vary from slightly dodgy sounding (no financing allowed on one site priced at nearly two million–full payment only) to more realistic sounding terms such as investment partnership in exchange for half ownership. This site has photos and descriptions, and is quite helpful if you’re considering going underground. Some prices near a reasonable quarter mil, others closer to two million.

The best advice if you’re looking for a missile silo? Get in touch with these two web sites and ask plenty of questions. Bring a structural expert and appraiser to any site you are thinking about owning and check out the area to make sure there are no serious environmental problems. Does your missile silo have a problem with Radon gas leaking into the facility? Is there a lead paint or asbestos issue in the structure? Know BEFORE you buy. Some additional things to think about:

  • The military stored hazardous waste in some decommissioned nuclear sites. Is the one you’re looking at in need of a serious decontamination?
  • If a particular site is flooded and needs to be drained, is the flood issue a cumulative water problem or the result of a single structural failure somewhere in the facility?
  • How much will it cost to reconnect to utilities such as power, gas and water?
  • How is trash removal and sewage to be handled?

Knowing the basic answers to these questions will help you figure out whether the purchase is worth the asking price. You should also check to see how the area in question is zoned in case you want to run a business from your former missile silo.
Owning a missile silo isn’t impossible–just ask Edward and Dianna Peden. Just remember there are no windows down there and you’ll need to figure out what to do about getting an Internet connection up and running. That and a fridge full of beer. If you wind up buying one of these, by all means drop us a line and let us know what happened.

Enjoy this article? Read about How to Buy Your Own Private Island here on GearCrave.


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