Sales of luxe doomsday bunkers up 1,000%

Rendering of a Vivos doomsday bunker being built under the grasslands of NebraskaA rendering of the 950-person bunker that Vivos is planning to build under the grasslands of Nebraska. See inside. By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A devastating earthquake strikes Japan. A massive tsunami kills thousands. Fears of a nuclear meltdown run rampant. Bloodshed and violence escalate in Libya.

And U.S. companies selling doomsday bunkers are seeing sales skyrocket anywhere from 20% to 1,000%.

Northwest Shelter Systems, which offers shelters ranging in price from $200,000 to $20 million, has seen sales surge 70% since the uprisings in the Middle East, with the Japanese earthquake only spurring further interest. In hard numbers, that's 12 shelters already booked when the company normally sells four shelters per year.

"Sales have gone through the roof, to the point where we are having trouble keeping up," said Northwest Shelter Systems owner Kevin Thompson.

UndergroundBombShelter.com, which sells portable shelters, bomb shelters and underground bunkers, has seen inquiries soar 400% since the Japanese earthquake. So far sales of its $9,500 nuclear biological chemical shelter tents are at an all-time high -- with four sold in California last week, compared to about one a month normally.

Hardened Structures said inquiries have shot up about 20% since the earthquake -- particularly for its apocalyptic 2012 shelters, radiation-protection tents, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) air filters.

Vivos, a company that sells rooms in 200-person doomsday bunkers, has received thousands of applications since the massive earthquake in Japan, with reservations spiking nearly 1,000% last week. And people are backing their fear with cash: A reservation requires a minimum deposit of $5,000.

"People are afraid of the earth-changing events and ripple effects of the earthquake, which led to tsunamis, the nuclear meltdown, and which will lead to radiation and health concerns," said Vivos CEO Robert Vicino. "Where it ends, I don't know. Does it lead to economic collapse? A true economic collapse would lead to anarchy, which could lead to 90% of the population being killed off."

The last time people flocked to purchase bunkers in such droves was right before the Y2K scare, according to Stephen O'Leary, an associate professor at University of Southern California and an expert on apocalyptic thinking.

"Tens of millions of people believe in a literal apocalypse, which involves earthquakes, storms, disasters of global proportions and especially disasters related to the Middle East," O'Leary said.

But, he added, "Some believe that this is just a turbulent time and they have to go somewhere to ride it out."

Elan Yadan, a clothing store owner in Los Angeles, is one of the many customers who rushed to find a bunker last week. Yadan secured a spot for his family in a Vivos' shelter, putting down four deposits totaling $20,000 -- $20,000 that had been earmarked for a down payment on a new house.

"I honestly didn't want to do it, but unfortunately it looks like the worst expectations about the world are starting to come true," said Yadan, who had been reading about Mayan predictions of a global meltdown in 2012. "With the things happening this week, it's better to be safe than sorry. And what good is a house if you don't feel safe?"

Yadan will be riding out any apocalypse in Vivos' most ambitious project to date. The company has more than five 200-person shelters in the U.S. that are in various stages of construction, but this facility outshines them all.

The bunker, which is being built under the grasslands of Nebraska, is 137,000 square feet -- bigger than a Wal-Mart -- can house 950 people for up to one year, and can withstand a 50 megaton blast. Once completed, it will boast four levels of individual suites, a medical and dental center, kitchens, bakery, prayer room, computer area, pool tables, pet kennels, a fully stocked wine cellar and a detention center to place anyone who turns violent.

Plus, there will be a fortified 350-foot lookout tower for residents who want to see what's happening in the outside world.

Once Vivos collects deposits from at least half the number of residents needed to fill the bunker, it will take them on a tour of the near-completed site. At that point, they must pay the rest of the $25,000 reservation fee.

That's what Yadan intends to do.

"I'm not a psychic but I'm not a scientist either, so I'd rather err on the side of caution -- and I'd rather survive and live in a bunker for a year than be wiped out," he said. To top of page


Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.85%3.81%
15 yr fixed2.95%2.91%
5/1 ARM3.37%3.07%
30 yr refi3.85%3.82%
15 yr refi3.02%2.98%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in: New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,678.70 6.10 0.03%
Nasdaq 4,771.76 13.88 0.29%
S&P 500 2,057.09 5.27 0.26%
Treasuries 1.83 0.01 0.61%
Data as of 6:56pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.85 0.12 0.76%
Apple Inc 113.10 0.12 0.11%
Microsoft Corp 47.01 -0.17 -0.36%
Safeway Inc 35.10 -0.19 -0.54%
General Electric Co 24.59 0.11 0.45%
Data as of 4:02pm ET

Sections

The league announced on Monday that fans will be able to watch official NFL highlights on YouTube. More

Solid economic growth over the next few years should help keep the federal deficit at a very modest level until 2018. But after that, the nation's deficit will start growing again, the Congressional Budget Office said in its latest 10-year outlook. More

On demand delivery startup WunWun is expecting its order volume to double by the time they close up shop on Monday. All thanks to a blizzard. More

Identity thieves are stealing people's Social Security numbers and other key pieces of personal information in order to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund, the IRS warned Monday. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2015 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2015 and/or its affiliates.