When ordinary people begin to accumulate survival gear and build bunkers in their back yards, it’s a sign of the times. It’s what ordinary people did throughout the Cold War, and it’s what a lot of ordinary people have been doing since 9/11. But when rich people start building bunkers and stockpiling food and weapons, it’s not just a sign of the times. It’s a sign that something may be about to go down.
That’s because the wealthy know and understand things that the rest of us often miss. If something bad were coming down the pike, they’d probably know it before we do. I’m not implying some grand conspiracy when I say that. I don’t rule out that there are elites in the world who would conspire against us, but I doubt that every single millionaire in the world is in cahoots to screw us over and leave us behind when things get ugly. The wealthy of the world are not a monolith.
But what they are is smart. With the exception of trust fund babies, no one gets rich by being simpleminded. Even the folks who get rich by leaching off of corrupt governments need to be cunning and savvy. Most however are entrepreneurs, and to be a successful entrepreneur you have to be sharp, and you must have a strong sense of cultural, geopolitical, and economic trends. And if you have a strong sense of where those winds are blowing, then you probably know if our world is on the cusp of something terrible. So when the rich start ducking for cover, so should you.
Which is alarming when you hear stories like this one from Kansas City, where a man is turning an abandoned nuclear silo into luxury bunkers:
Larry Hall, project manager and owner of the Luxury Survival Condo Project, says he feels safer with the doors closed.
He says he’s sold all 12 luxury condos in the former Atlas missile silo — which once housed a nuclear warhead — not far from Concordia, about two hours north of Wichita. He’s working on a second silo.
A full-floor unit is 1,820 square feet and costs $3 million. A half-floor unit, at 900 square feet, costs $1.5 million.
Survival is a unifying cause. Hall said his owners come from a variety of political beliefs and include people in international business, architecture, law and medicine. He said the owners don’t do interviews; efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.
The facility is 15 stories deep, contains multiple generators and air scrubbers for a wide variety of contaminants, a remote-controlled sniper post on the surface, and three armories which contain weapons and body armor. But it’s luxurious too. There are fireplaces, hardwood floors, walk-in closets, televisions that stream images of the outdoors, and a climate controlled swimming pool.
However, that’s not the only luxury bunker that’s being built. Last year the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the rich, famous, and powerful including Bill Gates have been building bunkers all over the country. Some of these facilities are multi-million dollar endeavors.
Gary Lynch, GM at Rising S Bunkers, a Texas-based company that specializes in underground bunkers and services scores of Los Angeles residences, says that sales at the most upscale end of the market — mainly to actors, pro athletes and politicians (who require signed NDAs) — have increased 700 percent this year compared with 2015, and overall sales have risen 150 percent. “Any time there is a turbulent political landscape, we see a spike in our sales. Given this election is as turbulent as it is, we are gearing up for an even bigger spike,” says marketing director Brad Roberson of sales of bunkers that start at $39,000 and can run $8.35 million or more (FYI, a 12-stall horse shelter is $98,500).
Adds Mike Peters, owner of Utah-based Ultimate Bunker, which builds high-end versions in California, Texas and Minnesota: “People are going for luxury [to] live underground because they see the future is going to be rough. Everyone I’ve talked to thinks we are doomed, no matter who is elected.” Robert Vicino, founder of Del Mar, Calif.-based Vivos, which constructs upscale community bunkers in Indiana (he believes coastal flooding scenarios preclude bunkers being safely built west of the Rockies), says, “Bill Gates has huge shelters under every one of his homes, in Rancho Santa Fe and Washington. His head of security visited with us a couple years ago, and for these multibillionaires, a few million is nothing. It’s really just the newest form of insurance.”
Meanwhile, another Texas company is trying to build a survival retreat for 1,600 people that will include 400 condos, an equestrian center, a golf course, and even helipads. It’s expected to cost $300 million. And this US company is building earthship bunkers that range in cost from $100,000 to $1.5 million.
All of these different companies offer different explanations for why their wealthy clients want these shelters. They’ve been given reasons that range from terrorism to pandemics to civil unrest. However, if you go through all of the sources that I’ve mentioned, you’ll find that the rich seem to fear nuclear war and another world war the most.
And that should give one pause. If the rich tend to have a good sense of where the world is going, and they’re so worried about nuclear war that they’re building multi-million dollar shelters, then we should take note. They know that something bad is coming and they’re not taking it lightly. Neither should the rest of us.