Friday, December 6, 2013
By Bill Draper / The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Coby Cullins stands next to a map of the Vivos Shelter and Resort during a tour of the facility in Atchison, Kan., on Tuesday.
Paved roadways lead the way through the Vivos Shelter and Resort during a tour of the facility in Atchison, Kan.
The Army used the caverns — created by limestone mining operations that started in the late 1880s — for decades as a storage facility before putting them up for auction last year. The winning bid in December was $1.7 million, but financing fell through and the site was put up for sale again.
Springfield, Mo., investor Coby Cullins submitted his winning $510,000 bid for the property in early April, and he immediately started looking for ways to use it. One of his ideas was to lease the land to a company that builds survival bunkers.
Vicino, whose company is based in Del Mar, Calif., said he received an email from Cullins and flew to Kansas two days later to check out the property. Vicino agreed to purchase 75 percent of the complex, rather than lease it, while Cullins retained the rest and is marketing it to local businesses.
The complex consists of two fully lighted, temperature-controlled mines with concrete floors. The east cave, which Cullins owns, encompasses about 15 acres and contains offices, vaults, restrooms and other developed work spaces. The much larger west cave, which covers about 45 acres, is mostly undeveloped and will be converted into the Vivos facility.
The shelter will have enough space for more than 1,000 RVs and up to about 5,000 people. Members will be charged $1,000 for every lineal foot of their RV to purchase their space, plus $1,500 per person for food. That means a person who plans to park a 30-foot vehicle in the shelter with four people inside will pay $30,000 for the space and $6,000 for food.
Actual sales won't begin until a "critical mass" of reservations are received and processed, Vicino said, which hasn't happened yet at the Kansas shelter.
Vivos also owns a shelter in Indiana with room for 80 people to live comfortably for up to a year. There, members pay $50,000 per adult and $35,000 per child, so a family with two adults and two children would have to come up with $170,000 to be part of the post-apocalyptic generation.
Purchasers will be required to pay for the full balance before taking possession of their shelter space, though the company has offered limited financing in the past with a sizable down payment.
Vicino says he won't say specifically where the Indiana shelter or any of his smaller facilities are located because he fears there would be anarchy in the event of a world-changing catastrophe.
And it doesn't matter who comes knocking at the "moment of truth," Vicino said, they're probably not getting in.
"I've heard people say, 'I will just show up at the door,'" he said. "Our response is, 'great, where is the door?' At our secret shelters, you don't know where to go, and your cash will be worthless at that time."
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Coby Cullins stands next to an entrance to the Vivos Shelter and Resort during a tour of the facility.