Following a career in the U.S. Air Force, Select Sotheby’s International Realty broker Brian Dominic got into real estate following his active-duty career when, as he puts it, he saw “lots of other regular folks making lots of money through selling real estate.” His plan had been to focus on selling lakefront property in New York’s Adirondacks, but a quirk of geography and modern 20th-century history led him to a different niche: brokering the sale of Cold War-era missile silos like this eight-acre complex in the northern reaches of New York state.
The site was once home to one of 12 Atlas Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that were maintained in similar silos throughout the region by the 556th Strategic Missile Squadron during the Cold War. The 556th was stationed at nearby Plattsburg AFB and was one of six Atlas missile squadrons deployed nationwide during the 1960s to protect North America from against nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. Now defunct, many of these former missile complexes have been turned over to local municipalities for things like equipment storage, or were acquired cheaply in the 1970s and ’80s by private buyers for cleanup and reuse.
Former missile-silo complexes throughout the country have been refitted for multiple different uses, from an Atlas-F complex in Texas that’s now a training facility for deep-sea divers to proposed uses such as for underground hydrophonics farming or as a secure data-storage facility. Indeed, The New Yorker‘s Evan Osnos recently wrote about a glut of wealthy buyers acquiring underground survivalist shelters in preparation for the “crackup of civilization” in his January 2017 article, “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich.”
Which brings us back to the leafy fence-encircled property at the end of a private driveway in Upstate New York. Acquired in the late 1990s by an Australian architect and painstakingly refashioned over almost two decades, the structure includes complete living quarters in the base’s original Launch Control Center (LCC). The LCC connects to the 18-story main silo, currently in need of repair but topped by a pair of still-functioning 100-ton hydraulic blast doors that were designed to take the hit from a nuclear detonation! Mooted future use for the high-rise missile silo include for luxury condos, while the previous owner, Alexander Michael, had visions of turning the whole complex—which he nicknamed “Bouquet 556” from its original USAF moniker of Boquett 556-5—into an underground dance venue.
The Lewis, New York complex was listed for sale for $3 million on February 3, 2017. For those in the market for a similar silo at a much lower price point—albeit in much greater need of restoration—check out Brian Dominic’s $135,000 listing for a sister Atlas-F silo near Au Sable Forks, New York (pictured below), another of the 556th Strategic Missile Squadron’s former Cold War ICBM installations around New York and Vermont.
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