Nuclear war, societal collapse, biological warfare, zombies? There are many ways the world could end — and the super-rich are already preparing for it.
Billionaires have been building doomsday bunkers for decades, but the COVID pandemic triggered an even higher demand. In August 2022, billionaire Peter Thiel (who co-founded PayPal) was refused consent for building a bunker-like lodge in a remote area of New Zealand — but he’s not the first and won’t be the last to look at New Zealand. The country’s isolated location is considered an ideal place for many to survive the end of times.
Surviving the Apocalypse on American Soil
Not that you have to fly to the other side of the world to escape the end of the world. Whether hidden in plain sight or built entirely underground, the US has a thriving industry built around “preparing for the end,” and things just keep getting bigger and better.
In 2017, bunker-building company Vivos xPoint (xPoint being “the point in time when only the prepared will survive”) announced it was building the largest survival community on Earth in South Dakota by converting an abandoned military base into “575 private military-built, concrete and steel, all-risk bunkers.”
Located within a 24-hour drive from virtually all points within the United States and away from known military targets, the bunker and the land around it are almost the size of Manhattan and have everything you might need to survive the apocalypse — including must-have gems like a gym, gardens, and a movie theater.
And they aren’t the only ones. Texas’ Trident Lakes luxury bunker is home to 600 condominiums, a golf course, and 12 helipads, while the luxurious “Underground House” in Las Vegas features 15,000+ square feet of space designed to mimic the outdoors, complete with “fake” sunsets and a barbecue grill.
Exploring the Majestic 15-Story Underground Bunker in Kansas
If having your own doomsday shelter feels a little lonely, you have options. Survival Condo, a more community-oriented complex in Kansas, already has 14 apocalypse-proofed condos for sale.
The 20,000 square foot complex comes complete with a saltwater swimming pool, a movie theater, a custom bar and lounge, a general store, and even a dog park — because, yes, Fido gets to survive the end of the world too. Luxuries aside, the condo complex has everything you need to survive too, including air and water filtration systems, hydroponic food systems, and 10-foot thick concrete walls that can withstand the impact of a 20-kiloton nuclear warhead.
And to ensure you don’t go crazy looking at concrete walls, rooms in all condos come equipped with flat screen HD TVs instead of windows — so you can choose to project your favorite landscape on them or even tune in to the real world outside.
Survival Condo is the brainchild of former US government contractor Larry Hall, who in 2008 bought the Atlas F. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Silo for $300,000. A total of 72 Atlas F. missile silos were built around the U.S. during the Cold War but all were decommissioned by the end of the 1960s. Today, they are a popular choice for bug-out bunkers because they are quite deep (Hall’s bunker is 15 stories deep) and basically impenetrable. To be fair, Hall did get quite a bargain — a similar 18-story deep Atlas F silo in New York went on the market in 2017 for close to $3 million.
After years of hard work, Hall finally unveiled Survival Condo in 2014 — a sort of underground city that can hold up to 75 people in a number of different units. By 2017, almost all condos had been sold. According to the official website, “Survival Condos run from $1.5 mil to $4.5 mil and most banks will not finance” — so we prepared to hand over a lot of cash upfront. The most expensive units, the Penthouses, are “approximately 3600 sq. ft. on two levels starting at $4.5 Million USD and can be completely customized to the buyers tastes and needs.”
By Diana Bocco, contributor for Ripleys.com