March 24, 2020

Silos for Sale

Worried about the Coronavirus? Ready to purchase a home that might keep you safe from the end of the world? Maybe it’s time to check out what missile silos -- yes, former homes to missiles during the Cold War -- have to offer. 


Tucked away amid the greenery of Lake Placid is a part of Americana history that is equal parts curious and compelling. In the 1960s during the height of the Cold War, Atlas-F missile sites were built to house the weapons. Located around the Lake Placid area, these now-empty silos are having a second life as homes, retreats and more.


Made with concrete mixed with an epoxy that would let the structures withstand winds of up to 500 miles per hour, these complexes are some of the strongest buildings on earth. The silos were designed to be able to withstand any calamity on earth, from nuclear explosions to weather disasters and anything in between. 


Today, having been decommissioned, the missile silos stand in various states of use and repair. From those that have been fully renovated and are luxury retreats that could withstand catastrophes to those that are unused and empty, there are plenty of opportunities to find what you might be looking for in a silo.


The purchase of a silo -- while a unique and niche market -- is one that is seeing quite a bit of movement these days. Many people are looking to have a place outside of New York City but want to have the access of a luxury of a weekend spot while also having the flexibility of having a home that could serve as a retreat in the event of more serious global events.


Silos are different from many other forms of construction. Throughout the U.S.,  silos have the same layout and footprint. So no matter if you’re looking on the east coast or in Texas, they have the exact same layout and dimensions.


Silos are 50 feet in diameter and about 185 feet deep, lending themselves to be compared to a skyscraper underground. And while their footprint is the same, their uses today are dramatically different.


The ways these relics of the Cold War could be transformed are only limited to the imagination of the buyers who want to convert a silo into having a new use. There have been buyers who are interested in renovating the structures into multi-story dance clubs or creating the ultimate secure home to inure themselves against future events. Others suggest using the space to create subterranean condos, as a data-storage center or a hydroponic growing facility.


The unique layout and features that come as part and parcel of the silos is both part of the appeal and the challenge that confronts new owners. From the cylindrical interiors to the lack of windows, each owner needs to confront these quirks in their own way.


For Bruce Townsley, who owns a missile base in Abilene, Texas, the answer was installing a TV with a feed to an above-ground monitor. He purchased his silo years after being inspired by seeing silo-owner Ed Peden speak about his uncommon Kansas home on the Johnny Carson show.


The opportunity to purchase these rare homes comes with multiple kinds of appeal. From using the home as a weekend retreat or a more secure housing option in the event of unstable global events, the silos aren’t going anywhere any time soon. The only question that remains is if it would be a good fit for you.