Welcome to The Bunker Belt

Inside the bunker culture of the elites.

Welcome to The Bunker Belt
Photo by Nandor Muzsik on Unsplash

Five years.

That's how long you'd last in the Survival Condo, a luxury bunker built into an abandoned missile silo. It's what Bradley Garrett describes as a geoscraper, an inverse skyscraper designed to withstand the collapse of civilization. This thing has everything a disaster movie could want.

From House Beautiful:

There's a general store, an indoor pool and spa, a gym, medical first aid center, a library, a classroom, a bar and more. But features like the direct shooting range, digital weather station, monolithic dome cap, and security command center remind guests of the structure’s war zone history. "The mission is to protect residents from a whole wide range of threats," Hall said. "Everything from viral or bacterial threats and chemicals to volcanic ash, meteors, solar flares and civil unrest," he says.

The place also has at least one remote-controlled rifle turret. As the guy in charge says, "You can kill people like it's a video game." I wouldn't be surprised if they'll have drones and robots soon. This underground fortress also boasts three military-grade air filtration systems, at $30,000 each.

A suite here runs into the millions.

The operation is run by Larry Hall, a former military contractor and entrepreneur who was designing hardened data centers. So if anyone knows how to build a bunker, it's him. A Saudi Prince tried to buy one of his latest projects outright. He turned them down out of principle. As Hall himself admits, any bunker needs social cohesion to ensure survival. Even at the end of the world, people need to feel normal. Otherwise, they go...

Bunkers.

Luxury bunkers surged in popularity at the start of the pandemic, but they have a long heritage. Governments around the world have built thousands of them over the last century with hundreds of billions in taxpayer money. As militaries abandon the originals for better designs, the ultra rich have been snatching them up and flipping them. There's a real booming dooming market for apocalyptic real estate, explored by Garrett in his book Bunker.

Yeah, bunker flipping.

It's a thing.

If Douglas Rushkoff's Survival of The Richest whetted your curiosity for the doomsday culture of the super rich, then Bunker satisfies it and then some. Toward the end, I was going, "Jeez another one...?"

(That's a good thing.)

With enough subtility to avoid pissing off his interview subjects, Bradley Garrett answers every question I ever had about bunkers.

Let's dig in.

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