Page 4 of 5
"Those people that buy Survival Condos will have a plan," he says, "and they will have a place to go."
About 100 feet from the silo sit two original 175,000-pound steel surface doors that parted when the missile was raised on its elevator. A newly dredged 12- to 16-foot trench cuts around the silo and past the first of three 25,000-gallon water tanks the condos will rely on.
"It looks like a submarine, doesn't it?" Hall says of the custom-made tank, a behemoth crafted by a company in a nearby town.
Hall wipes his feet on a rusty grate and heads down a flight of stairs for a tour of the silo. He is quick with details, both about the history of the building and the future he envisions. He points out the little touches that people might overlook. There's the original maze of 90-degree turns built to slow the force of a nuclear blast before it could reach the control center's five-man crew. Inside the tunnel connecting the control center to the silo, Hall pauses to describe his design.
"It's going to be predominantly white; it's very bright," he says. "But it's got a wavelike glass-tile pattern in it. It's got blues and greens, and it's a transition into [the] hydroponics and aquaculture [area]."
"I'm doing most of the design myself. And I'm not even gay," he adds with laugh.
The third floor of the silo will become a general store, where residents will pick out food and socialize. He points to steel beams and says they'll be covered with wood to give the shop a rustic feel.
Hall heads downstairs to the condo purchased by the woman with teenagers. (The elevator will be one of the last things installed.)
While showing off the oversized closets, Hall recalls the woman berating him for catering to the wealthy with high-end appliances. But he says the hefty price is dictated by the limited amount of space, not luxury appliances.
"The cost drivers have nothing to do with the appliances. But the people that spend the money to come in here are used to those types of appliances," he says.
Hall says two other buyers asked him why they couldn't put Wolf Dual Fuel Ranges in their units. Hall researched the stoves and found that they would add $30,000 to the price.
"They said, 'Oh, that's all? Just freaking do it!'0x2009" he says. "These people are on another level."
Hall is enamored of the minutiae of his project: The condos' framing is built with expensive 20-gauge steel. Space between the units' walls and the silo's outer structure ensures that the floors won't crack during seismic events.
Nothing about the condo induces claustrophobia. The rooms feel large, and navigating the space is easy, even with piles of construction materials lying around. The only unsettling thing about being 75 feet below the surface is the silence. It's so quiet, your ears ring.
Despite the seven-figure price tag and high-quality appliances, Hall says he's far from making a fortune from the condos.
"Yeah, I'm making a little bit of money on them, but it's normal markup," he says. "Until I get these sold out, I'm really not going to make any money."
In the future bedroom of a teen, Hall takes a break from admiring the Survival Condo (he calls it his baby) and shifts to his son, Luke, and wife, Lori. He describes himself in his pre-family life as "just a fun-loving guy who liked skiing and scuba diving." He says he traveled to Carnival and Mardi Gras and worked "on spook projects for the government" and "nuclear programs."