Go Inside a Doomsday Survival Luxury Condo

Published: 2023-01-01

Editor’s Note:  The article was originally published on Sept. 19, 2014 and since has been updated as of 2023. Below is Commercial Integrator’s first edition of Flashback Friday, returning to a doomsday survival luxury condo. In 2013, we took you inside this space, complete with all the necessities… and more than a couple perks. So, why not check it out all over again?

Water? Check.

Five-year supply of food? Check.

Home theater? Check.

When developers decided to convert an underground 1960s intercontinental ballistic missile site into a doomsday-ready condo community, they tried to think of everything.

The turnkey luxury condos may be located down to 175 feet below earth level at a remote North Central Kansas location, but they don’t lack amenities such as Subzero appliances and iPad-friendly Crestron automation, designed and installed by Logic Integration.

Doomsday Survival Community

In the event of a catastrophe, there’s no telling how long unit owners would have to live inside the self-contained doomsday survival community, figures developer Larry Hall. So, he includes a pool, a fitness center, 25,000 gallons of renewable water, green energy sources, waste treatment, a Logic Integration designed community theater and a slew of technology.

There is demand for luxury living in a secure, post-disaster environment, according to Hall, owner of one of the condos. The developer converted the silo into 15 floors with 10 residential units—a $10 million project, he says. Hall asks $2 million for four units that are approximately 1,800 square feet and $1 million for six 900-square-foot units.

For Logic Integration, a $4 million integration firm that does about 75 percent of its business with commercial clients and 25 percent in the residential market, it was about as unique a project as is imaginable.

The Lone Tree, Colo.-based integrator sent a team, led by senior project manager Tommy Nix, to the Kansas location. Once they lugged equipped down a 175-foot concrete bunker (yes, there’s an elevator), however, it was business as usual says VP of business development Bill Craig.

Each condo is fully integrated with a Crestron whole-house A/V system, secure wired and wireless network system, Samsung flat-panel TVs, Crestron lighting control and a Crestron intercom system.

One out-of-the-ordinary touch, Craig adds, is the use of LCD screens that function as underground windows. Condo owners get to choose what they’d like to view—beach, forest, for instance—when they gaze into their faux windows. Not only that, adds Nix, residents can use these virtual windows to see where they are in the above-ground world via live high-definition 1080p north, south, east and west camera feeds.

Beyond the in-unit solutions, Logic Integration also designed and installed much of the technology for the public spaces which include a library, interactive classroom, marketplace, bar, pool, arcade, control room and community home theater.

Approximately $1 Million Systems Integration

The major components of the approximately $1 million system integration for the doomsday survival luxury condo, according to Logic Integration, include:

  • Crestron Digital Media distribution
  • Crestron TSW-750 panels with intercom
  • Crestron iPad integration
  • Crestron Sonnex audio distribution
  • Crestron lighting control
  • Samsung LED displays
  • 17 Kaleidescape players with centralized distribution
  • Digital Projection 1080p LED projector
  • Stewart Filmscreen screens
  • 17 Cinematech theater seats
  • Planar security video wall
  • Full surveillance system

If you’re going to be stuck somewhere off the grid for an extended period of time, you could do worse than what Hall calls Luxury Survival Condos.

As for who—besides Hall—is investing in this type of doomsday security, there appears to be a market for it. At press time, the development site indicates that condos are sold out minus a pending sale falling through.

Two additional silo sites have been secured and Logic Integration is on board to provide technology integration for both—a unique niche for an integration firm, to say the least.

Inside a Truly Unique AV Project

Shawn Hansson, CEO and founder of Logic Integration, had no interest in pursuing the missile silo project initially. “When the client walked into our showroom, I was ready to walk away because the budget [he proposed] was only $70,000, and nobody had ever built a facility like this before,” he says.

“There were so many questions. Who was financing it? Now he has outside investors so that’s less of an issue.”

Craig, however, negotiated the budget up to about $1 million and demonstrated a strategy that made Hansson confident that his company could approach it the right way. “My attitude went from ‘I don’t think we should do it’ to ‘Let’s do it!’,” Hansson says.

For Nix, who essentially lived at a hotel 18 miles from the remote Kansas job site for four months, the project was worth the unconventional challenges. He calls it “the project I’d want to work on before I die” and “a dream job,” pointing out that no other integration project managers are likely to have tricking out an abandoned nuclear missile silo on their resume.

Doomsday Survival Involves Drama

The doomsday survival project, which is slated to wrap up in June 2013, included drama. Nix recalls being on the 14th floor, meaning 14 levels beneath the earth, when the power went out. “That’s when I realized I forgot my flashlight,” he says. Adding insult to injury, many of the security lights in the stairwell were out, “so I had to feel my way up the pitch dark stairs.”

Getting equipment in and out of the silo “wasn’t as hard as you’d think,” Nix says, adding that it was probably easier than some urban projects in which parking is limited. “We did have a loading dock and an elevator. The biggest thing you’d have to deal with is the mud. When it rains in Kansas the mud is like adhesive. It’s so bad that when you lose your shoe, you’re like, ‘Maybe I don’t need that shoe.’”

Security was an underestimated issue on the project. The North Central Kansas location is billed as “undisclosed,” but media coverage (see video below) included enough area footage for some people to pinpoint the job site. “There were numerous attempts by people trying to get in here and see what we’ve got, how deep it is,” Nix says. “There is a lot of interest from survivalists.”

As a result, the security and surveillance system became much more robust than originally planned. Nix opts not to describe details of the security solution, just that the surveillance system “is the most elaborate I’ve seen.” The installation involved him climbing atop a 60-foot communication tower to install at PTZ camera.

Emergency Communication System

One aspect of the security solution that was anticipated is the emergency communication system. Hall, the developer, wants silo occupants to be alerted to danger whether it’s outside the secure silo or inside. Logic Integration Crestron programmer Craig Brown made sure that pretty much every thing within the silo that has a video display—including iPads, Crestron touchpanels and common-area screens—features a notification system.

“It will show a 24/7 status which is green, yellow for caution or red for alert,” Nix says. “It also gives you the capability to press an alert button to get a code and create your own [mass notification visual and audio] alert. So, if a tenant fell and broke their leg or they have a situation where they need help in any way, they can hit that alert and change the status for the entire property.”

The unique obstacles of the doomsday survival project involved with integrating audio, video and automation solutions in a 175-foot-deep secure silo, Nix says, provide him with prospective that will help him with future projects.

“It’s like a relationship. There’s good, there’s bad, and at the end you’re glad you hung onto it and glad you are a part of it. I’ve learned so much on this job in terms of limitations of the equipment, dealing with the daily drama of what the next step brings.”

Tour the missile silo turned condo community with developer Larry Hall:

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