Texas in­vestors build bunker homes for dooms­day sce­nario

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS -


ATEXAS in­vestor group is plan­ning for a dooms­day sce­nario by build­ing a US$300 mil­lion lux­ury com­mu­nity re­plete with un­der­ground homes and air­lock blast doors de­signed for peo­ple wor­ried about a dirty bomb or other dis­as­ter.

The Tri­dent Lakes com­mu­nity has be­gun with a flour­ish north­east of Dal­las near the Ok­la­homa bor­der: A statue of Po­sei­don, the Greek god of the sea, hold­ing a golden tri­dent will stand some 50 feet above a mas­sive foun­tain billed as one of the largest in the world. Subtlety won’t do for Texas. “The ini­tial per­cep­tion is that it’s de­fined as a dooms­day sce­nario,” said James O’Con­nor, CEO of Dal­las-based Vin­tu­ary Hold­ings, which rep­re­sents the col­lec­tion of in­vestors back­ing the project. “I’m try­ing to change the per­cep­tion to a long-term sus­tain­able com­mu­nity, with the con­cept of a 200year com­mu­nity. We’re not looking at just putting all our res­i­dents un­der­ground; we’re looking to put to­gether a beau­ti­ful place to live that’s also se­cure.”


The stan­dard lux­ury ameni­ties will ap­ply: 18-hole golf course, high-end spa, gun ranges, zip lines, shops and restau­rants, and not just a sin­gle he­li­pad but a row of them. But plans call for the 700-acre spread to also in­clude an eques­trian cen­tre, polo fields and 20-acre lakes with white-sand beaches. The en­tire com­pound will be wrapped by a 12-foot wall and have pri­vate se­cu­rity man­ning watch­tow­ers. The project has re­ceived the nec­es­sary ap­provals, O’Con­nor said, and peo­ple are ex­pected to take up res­i­dence in 2018.

De­vel­op­ers in­tend to con­struct about 400 con­dos that have 90 per cent of their liv­ing space un­der­ground. Most would cost in the mid-six fig­ures and each topped with a ter­race over­look­ing one of the lakes. The com­mu­nity could have as many as 1,600 res­i­dents who, should dis­as­ter strike, can rely on wa­ter and en­ergy pro­duc­tion that’s off the grid. O’Con­nor said de­signs and con­cepts may change as the project pro­gresses, but a nav­i­ga­ble tun­nel net­work and an air­pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tem are planned.

As is a DNA vault. The vault is an op­por­tu­nity for “fam­ily sus­tain­abil­ity”, said Richie Whitt, spokesman for Tri­dent Lakes.

“You can take DNA and pre­serve it, where if some­thing should hap­pen, then tech­nol­ogy down the road could take DNA and repli­cate a per­son,” he said. “It’s kind of sci­ence fic­tiony but it’s also not that far in the future.” Whitt said Fri­day that Vin­tu­ary Hold­ings has pur­chased land in Ohio for a sim­i­lar com­mu­nity and in­vestors hope to ex­pand the idea to other states. He didn’t pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

It’s not clear just how many sim­i­lar bunker com­mu­ni­ties are open for busi­ness in the US or other coun­tries. The Vivos Group, based in Cal­i­for­nia, has six in the US and one in Ger­many.

“It’s def­i­nitely some­thing, anec­do­tally, that we’re see­ing more and more of,” said Jeff Sch­legelmilch, deputy di­rec­tor of the National Cen­ter for Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness at Columbia Univer­sity in New York.

The cen­tre works with an ar­ray of com­pa­nies, groups, states and other en­ti­ties to en­sure a broad, com­pre­hen­sive re­sponse when a nat­u­ral or man-made dis­as­ter strikes. The con­cern for Sch­legelmilch is that groups like Tri­dent Lakes cut them­selves off from that shared re­sponse.

“The ag­gre­gate of in­di­vid­ual pre­pared­ness trans­lates into greater com­mu­nity pre­pared­ness, and the ag­gre­gate of com­mu­nity pre­pared­ness leads to greater national pre­pared­ness,” he said.

We’re not looking at just putting all our res­i­dents un­der­ground; we’re looking to put to­gether a beau­ti­ful place to live that’s also se­cure.

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