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Silo Home, A Nuclear Missile Base-Turned-Residence Ready For Doomsday
|Da forbes.com del 22 novembre 2011|
Tucked peacefully among the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York is the Silo Home. From the ground's surface it appears to be a quaint Saranac vacation home, surrounded by 20 acres of Adirondack State Park forest and flanked by a long airplane runway strip. But under this countryside compound's finished wood floors lies an underground network of Cold War-era bunkers reinforced and ready for the End of Days.
"I actually could fly you in and you would think it is just a normal home," explains Bruce Francsico, one half of the real estate development duo that owns the Silo Home, and an airplane pilot himself. "You wouldn't know this was a missile silo until you get inside and start walking down and realize the stairs just keep going." That's right, a missile silo. The Silo Home's underground system was built in late 1950s to house an Atlas-F Missile, a Cold War era intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) upon which nuclear warheads could sit. This site's purpose was to stash such a missile in the event of a nuclear Armageddon, capable of both firing a ICBM from its launchpad and protecting onsite workers from a direct nuclear attack. The silo was started in 1958 and construction finished two to three years later. Construction costs in 1958 for silos like this one tallied $18 million apiece, explains Francisco, equaling nearly $400 million in today's inflation-adjusted dollars. So how much do the owners want for this apocalypse-ready vacation home? A surprisingly modest $750,000. "It's a real steal, especially since we put millions of dollars into restoring it," admits Francisco, who says the silo spent 30 years submerged in water before Francisco's cousin and business partner, Gregory Gibbons, got his hands on it in 1991.
The property has actually been on and off the market for several years, asking $2.6 million, and then $1.76 million, with no buyer materializing. The cousins are ready to be rid of the property (and their business partnership on it), hence the 70% price discount. They have hired Select Sotheby's International Realty to co-broker the listing with Francisco as well. So for three quarters of a million dollars -- the price of a one bedroom in a decent Manhattan highrise-- here's what you get. For starters, a finished house less than 20 years old. Its top floor, or the above-ground floor, spans 1,800 square feet that includes a living area with fireplace, a master bedroom suite and two bathrooms. Outside there's a wraparound porch, an outdoor shower and a garage/airplane hangar. The top level also has a staircase that winds down 125 feet into the earth, leading to two more subterranean levels of living space. These levels, which are the former Launch Control Center, comprise 2,300 additional square feet that includes a kitchen and dining room, two bedroom suites with Jacuzzi-studded marble bathrooms, and an entertainment room. These floors are encased in three-foot thick walls of concrete reinforced with stainless steel mesh. "The Launch Control Center is the part that is fixed up, the "007 secret palace" type area underground," says Francisco. "The whole place was designed so that they [the crew] would survive a nuclear attack and then raise the missile to the surface and shoot it in the case of an attack." Past the LCC, nine additional levels protrude further underground, making up the 12,000 square feet that was actual missile storage space.
These levels have yet to be renovated and finished but the infrastructure remains ready to withstand the worst: the silo itself is a steel "superstructure" that hangs from a huge spring suspension system that was "designed to absorb the shock of a direct nuclear hit," according to the Silo Home website. Now for the big question. Is it even safe to reside here if a nuke called this home first? "It had a missile in it but I don't think they ever had a [nuclear] warhead on it," says Francisco, noting that warheads were usually stored at the nearby (and now defunct) Plattsburgh Airforce Base. "We had the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers up to make sure there wasn't any hazardous material left up there by the government. Some of these sites have contamination issues, but we don't -- this has a clean bill of health." The Silo Home is offered with up to 240 acres of additional land, subdivision permits and/or private airport permits, all for larger price tags. The property could be used a private residential retreat or converted into a resort, housing development -- even a full-fledged airport. Francisco is hunting for a prospective buyer or investor, whichever comes first. Buyers must prove they have the cash funds to pay for the compound, as this property is available for sale only to 100% cash buyers.
(For more on "The Benefits of Buying Home With Cash," click here.) Francisco says the new price is drumming up interest among several parties. He already has one showing planned for the week after Thanksgiving and plans to arrange others for the same week. In the meantime, though, he's been acting as a landlord. "I've been renting it out for vacation getaways all year round. We've had a lot of honeymooning couples actually," chuckles the builder. I cover real estate, writing about everything from trends in the housing market to ultra high-end luxury listings to data-based cities lists. Real estate is in my blood thanks to a realtor for a mom and a property developer/landlord for a dad. I have had a front row seat for... di Morgan Brennan
|Inside the Russian Short Wave Radio Enigma|
|Da viborg-folkeblad.dk del 29 settembre 2011|
From a lonely rusted tower in a forest north of Moscow, a mysterious shortwave radio station transmitted day and night. For at least the decade leading up to 1992, it broadcast almost nothing but beeps; after that, it switched to buzzes, generally between 21 and 34 per minute, each lasting roughly a second—a nasally foghorn blaring through a crackly ether. The signal was said to emanate from the grounds of a voyenni gorodok (mini military city) near the village of Povarovo, and very rarely, perhaps once every few weeks, the monotony was broken by a male voice reciting brief sequences of numbers and words, often strings of Russian names: "Anna, Nikolai, Ivan, Tatyana, Roman." But the balance of the airtime was filled by a steady, almost maddening, series of inexplicable tones.
The amplitude and pitch of the buzzing sometimes shifted, and the intervals between tones would fluctuate. Every hour, on the hour, the station would buzz twice, quickly. None of the upheavals that had enveloped Russia in the last decade of the cold war and the first two decades of the post-cold-war era—Mikhail Gorbachev, perestroika, the end of the Afghan war, the Soviet implosion, the end of price controls, Boris Yeltsin, the bombing of parliament, the first Chechen war, the oligarchs, the financial crisis, the second Chechen war, the rise of Putinism—had ever kept UVB-76, as the station's call sign ran, from its inscrutable purpose. During that time, its broadcast came to transfix a small cadre of shortwave radio enthusiasts, who tuned in and documented nearly every signal it transmitted. Although the Buzzer (as they nicknamed it) had always been an unknown quantity, it was also a reassuring constant, droning on with a dark, metronome-like regularity. They don't know just what they're listening to. But they're fascinated by the unending strangeness of the mindless, evil beeping.But on June 5, 2010, the buzzing ceased. No announcements, no explanations. Only silence.
The following day, the broadcast resumed as if nothing had happened. For the rest of June and July, UVB-76 behaved more or less as it always had. There were some short-lived perturbations—including bits of what sounded like Morse code—but nothing dramatic. In mid-August, the buzzing stopped again. It resumed, stopped again, started again.
|Officielt: Nato lukker bunkeren|
|Da viborg-folkeblad.dk del 9 giugno 2011|