A missile silo is for sale and can be yours if you want it. Many people have private dreams of a special space to call their own. That place might be a shack on the beach, a cabin deep in the woods, a reproduction of a medieval castle, or some even more fanciful location. If someone has enough resources, they can find their happy place. Even if it’s a nuclear missile silo.
Yes, a missile silo.
A recent report in the Guardian says that there’s one for sale near Tucson, Arizona, for a fairly reasonable price, just under $400,000. The silo has been decommissioned, but it was once the home of the Titan II, which was the largest intercontinental ballistic missile in the Air Force’s arsenal.
All photos below were taken by Casey James and more can be found at Luxe Realty Photography. Real estate listing and agent information can be found at the end of the article.
In the 20 years from the early ‘60s to the early ‘80s, Tucson was surrounded by missile silos like this one. Each one was capable of launching a Titan II in under half an hour, and sending it over 6,000 miles to reach its intended target. The warheads on those missiles were 6000 times more destructive than the bomb that hit Hiroshima.
In 1984, the titans went out use and demolition crews blew up the silos, backfilling the shafts for launch control. Once the silos were suitably destroyed, the government put the various sites up for sale at pretty reasonable prices, and people were happy to buy the land with very little thought about what was underneath, according to tucson.com.
The site which was just recently listed for sale belongs to a man named Rick Ellis, who originally purchased it with the intention of using it as a commercial data storage facility, taking advantage of the fact that its very nature protects it from electromagnetic pulses. That would have been a great feature for what Ellis had in mind, but then the recession began, putting that idea to rest.
He bought the property in 2002, for $200,000. He got it from the family who first bought it from the government 35 years ago, and who bought it for a tenth of that amount. When he and his business partner bought the land, they had to dig out the bunker before it could be useful. Ellis said that they rented an old excavator that could only turn left.
They started digging on a Saturday, and by the afternoon of the following day, they were in. Cleaning the facility out set him back about $80,000, and he spent another $20,000 in legal fees to have it rezoned for commercial purposes. When his customers pulled out during the recession, he just let the place sit empty.
Now, Ellis says he wants to sell the site because he’s bored. He’s gotten a couple of offers for the property, one from a buyer who wanted to use it to grow medical marijuana, and another from someone who thought it had great potential to become a porn studio. Ellis rejected both offers.
A local newspaper called the site ‘a mid-century fixer upper’, and that’s certainly true. Vandals broke in at some point, smashing the fluorescent lights he’d installed, and knocking over the ladder used to access the space. He had to rappel down the access shaft to put the ladder back. In order to even get a tour of the property, buyers have to be able to show that they have the funds to make the purchase, and also have to sign a liability waiver.
In order to tour the missile silo for sale, you begin by descending a 40-ft. staircase that leads into the bunker. The space is large and empty. It has stained, 4-ft. thick concrete walls, and lots of exposed metal structures. There are still large floor-to-ceiling springs on each floor, which are meant to protect each of the basement’s levels from seismic shocks, and a 6,000-pound blast door.
Ellis still thinks that the missile silo for sale would be an ideal spot for someone who wanted to open a data storage business, but is unwilling to make a guess about who might be interested in buying the bunker, or when. Perhaps there’s a buyer out there who has survivalist tendencies or has always wanted their own hobbit-hole. You never can tell what some people will choose as their happy place.
Here you can find more information about the listing and real estate agent