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The Ultimate Man Cave: An Underground Missile Silo

Deep underground in the middle of the Adirondack wilderness is a former missile silo built during the Cold War. There was an underground launch command center built to withstand a nuclear attack. In the event of an attack, a hatch would open for the missile to be launched at the enemy.

Photo by: Bruce Francisco

As you may be aware, the Cold War ended a few years back and as a result, that missile silo, in Saranac, N.Y., was decommissioned. In 1991, it was bought by Gregory Gibbons, who called his cousin, builder Bruce Francisco, to transform it into a livable space.

Francisco built an 1,800-square-foot log cabin home on top (it would’ve been a shame to completely lose those Adirondack views!) and 2,300 square feet of living space underground. Of course, that’s just a fraction of the underground structure, which is the size of a seven-story skyscraper — about 15,000 square feet in all.

You wouldn’t even know that all that other space was there – there’s a 50-foot tunnel from what was the subterranean command center to the missile silo.

Imagine that: What’s this door go to — a closet? the furnace? Whoa, a missile silo?!

Francisco recalls they once had fun with a friend who came to visit. They didn’t tell him about the missile silo. They simply said, “Hey, you should see this guy’s basement!”

The man, who thought he’d seen it all, was speechless.

Of course, they also learned the perils of taking a date down there. What seemed cool to the guys, evoked a little panic in the ladies — “Um, are you a serial killer?!”

Gibbons lived there for 10 years, mostly in the above-ground house, using the underground as his man cave. But now, with a wife, three kids and three dogs, he’s ready to give up the ultimate man cave.

It’s not only the ultimate man cave but with all of the end-of-the-world predictions and saber rattling, it’s also the ultimate survival bunker — complete with two master suites, a marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, a spiral staircase and an entertainment room.

Hey, just because there’s an apocalypse doesn’t mean we’ll have to live like animals, amiright?

Francisco says he gets about a thousand hits to his web site, www.silohome.com, per day and a good 50 percent of that is people concerned about survival.

And now, thanks to the recession, the home is available at a bargain price — $750,000. That would buy you a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan or a small two bedroom in Brooklyn! The original price was $2.6 million, then reduced to $1.76 million.

Francisco said the possibilities are endless: Beyond a man cave, it could be used as a resort, a bed and breakfast, a movie set, a recording studio, a corporate meeting center, a data-storage facility or even a unique underground club.

In all, the pair own 240 acres of land, which includes a private airport, subdivisions up for sale, and a log cabin 2,000 feet away from the silo home, which they rent out to honeymooners, skiers or those just looking for a quiet getaway (www.adirondackloghomeforrent.com).

The log home would sell for $259,000, subdivision lots are $476,000 and access to a runway with private hangar is $125,000, though Francisco said they’re waiting to sell the silo home first — to offer that person first dibs on the surrounding lots and amenities.

“It would be foolish of me to see anything until the silo sells first,” Francisco said. “Selling the silo is going to determine the destiny of this property.”

The only catch is — it’s cash only. Well, that and you need to have to know what to do with an underground missile silo!

It would be fun to have a reality show down there — whoever gets voted off each week doesn’t just get voted off the island, they get launched out of the bunker!

For more pictures, videos and prices, visit www.silohome.com.

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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

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