A$$ in the Hole

From Mahalo.com, a Rendering of a Survival Silo

Someone stop the Air Force, please.

Cancel the four public meetings scheduled to take place this week throughout northcentral Montana. The Air Force, faced with fifty abandoned Minuteman nuclear missile silos, wants to implode the underground facilities or load them up with gravel.

I’ve got a better idea. Put ‘em on the real estate market.

The Air Force has planned hearings in Choteau, Conrad, Great Falls and Shelby. The meetings are limited to “comment about the various elimination processes being considered,” according to Dana McIntyre, the compliance and conservation officer out of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana (quoted in the Great Falls Tribune).

Why would we destroy multimillion dollar taxpayer-funded assets without considering alternatives?

These fifty blast-resistant reinforced concrete silos, decommissioned as part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) are newer than Malmstrom Air Force Base’s  “Ace in the Hole” nukes, held as a threat to Russia during the Cuban missile crisis, presumably still aimed at Kiev.

The missiles we eliminated were housed in big wide cylinders alongside very deep Launch Control Centers (LCC) with flat subfloors suspended on shock-resistant springs behind massive blast doors.

Our government is deeply in debt and these things might have market value. The timing is perfect.  Some say the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012; other doomsayers deduce that the earth will slip on its axis on that day.

This could be a fire sale for northcentral Montana real estate. From dryland farm country to tropical waterfront? Ka-ching! Riding out the polar shift in an underground silo? It’s like a first-class seat on the maiden voyage of a luxury transatlantic cruise ship.

Even if there is no polar shift, what better place to ride out the apocalypse?

from Silohome.com

The idea of selling empty silos is not new. The Saranac River Valley in New York State features the Silohome, a luxury log cabin atop a refitted Atlas-F missile silo. The website, www.silohome.com, features a 4 1/2 minute video clip, complete with jazz and classical music, badly placed apostrophes and a tour of the underground bunker, which is accessible only by keypad.

The Silohome appears ill-equipped to any savvy survivalist. Conspiracy theorists know an electrical micro-burst would seize up the keypad, leaving the multi-millionaire suckers to fry on the wrong side of the blast door. I guess the architects figured they wouldn’t have to worry about lawsuits because lawyers would be the first to go up in flames.

Our Montana nuke-proof survival shelters would be held to a higher standard.

Once buyers found out about our superior Montana bunkers, they’d sell like glowing hotcakes. While you wait for the world to end, enjoy fly fishing, hiking, cross country skiing, mountain biking, shooting varmints or just stay at home and form your own nudist colony or cult. All this isolation and scenic beauty, just an hour’s drive–later, a three-day post apocalyptic walk–to Glacier National Park.

Because some of these silos have limited access, the Air Force could throw in a bonus $50,000 gyrocopter kit–FREE with purchase of two or more silos (for a limited time only).

I found a real estate company, 20th Century Castles, that specializes in abandoned missile silos. 20th Century Castles claims to have sold 55 of these underground properties as of January 2011. Brokering our holes-in-the-ground could double their sales in less than a year.

The sales pitch is easy to write: “Are you worried about a nuclear hit, earthquake, massive global social upheaval or genetically modified food?  Perhaps you’re anxious about an attack on the power grid or you have a terminal case of TIDOH (Total Irrevocable Disgust for Other Humans)? Do all your friends have homes in Jackson Hole or Sun Valley or Aspen? No one else in your peer group owns a gutted Montana Missile silo.” The sales slogan, “Own a Piece of Montana: Your A$$ in the Hole.”

Where the Wild Things Are

Because offshore buyers are not prohibited from buying U.S. real estate, we’ll market these nonconventional shelters globally.  The influx of foreigners will be a boon: maybe Great Falls will attract a nice Indian restaurant and Conrad might put in a Middle Eastern souk right next to Gary and Leo’s IGA.

We don’t need Air Force brass from Louisiana to ask us whether we want to backfill or implode these assets. Instead of destroying them, send a real estate sales person out with a hammer and a cardboard sign on a stick.

About wedgeblog

Claire Baiz is a columnist for Signature Montana, a featured editorial writer for The Great Falls Tribune, and a regular contributor to the Folio award winning jeweler’s trade magazine InStore. Claire has written for niche and trade magazines, both online and in print. Contact Claire via e-mail at clairebaiz@gmail.com
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8 Responses to A$$ in the Hole

  1. david says:

    Claire, I know that you’re being semi-snarky, but good grief – OF COURSE those silos should be sold for people to renovate and turn into homes! I’ve glanced (online) at a few of the “silo homes” in other parts of the country, and holy cow, wouldn’t it be awesome!

  2. Jed Sutherland says:

    Nice light touch on the satire.

  3. Mark A. Mathison says:

    Now that’s a man cave! It’s too bad they don’t have any around the Williston, ND area, Those Man-Camps should be buried out of sight. But, if there are a few in the Shelby and Cutbank areas, they are going to need some housing very soon.

    Another solution; fill them with nuclear waste.

  4. Sean G says:

    i live in great falls and want to get my hands on one or more of these. what can we do to stop them from being destoryed? who can i call? is it to late?

  5. wedgeblog says:

    The hearings about the fate of the missile silos were not to determine an alternate use; they were solely to decide if they should be backfilled or destroyed. It’s The American Way… Sigh. There is a company that sells old missile silos, though. It’s mentioned in the blog post and Great Falls Tribune story.

  6. Howie says:

    So, have these hearings been held? What was the result?

  7. wedgeblog says:

    The hearings were held. It was like offering a little kid a bath or a story before bedtime: you get to choose (yay!) but you still have lights out at 9 p.m. (shoot!). This is the government’s way of making you feel involved: you want an implosion or backfill? Don’t you feel empowered?
    I don’t know which options were chosen AND I’m interested in how much we paid independent contractors to backfill or implode.

  8. Howie says:

    What an unbelievable waste. With all these stories popping up about government waste lately, this would fit right in, in my opinion. It’s just shameful. At a bare minimum these sites would have brought in $50,000 each (some much, much more). Also, at a bare minimum it must cost at least $10,000 in materials and labor to backfill the structures. I’m not 100% how many there are, but when you put together the lost revenues and the expenditures to destroy them and do the multiplication…wow.

    One bright spot is the jobs to the local contractors to do the demo work, but how many more jobs/money could have been created by just one of these remodeling projects. If I were on the state builder’s association I would be fuming.

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