Apocalypse soon? Group building 'largest private shelter on Earth'

The Vivos Group is planning an Empire State Building-sized underground shelter with room for more than 5,000 people.

When the apocalypse comes, Robert Vicino will be prepared for it — in style.

Vicino is founder of The Vivos Group, a Del Mar, Calif.-based company that plans to build what it describes as the "largest private shelter on Earth," a 2-million-plus-square-foot underground complex carved out of solid limestone in Atchison, Kan.

Vicino says the complex — as big as the Empire State Building — will have room for more than 5,000 people who want to sit out a possible life-extinguishing event.

"This is the be-all, end-all shelter," Vicino told MSN News.

GIMME SHELTER

The complex is being planned at a site about 130 feet below ground that was formerly a military storage facility for the U.S. government. Construction will begin in late summer, and the site should be fit for at least rudimentary habitation by November, Vicino said.

The shelter promises all the amenities of a four-star hotel, including a gym, a bowling alley, a pool, a hair salon and spa, and a 2-acre dog and cat park.

Vivos' website says the fortress will withstand "virtually any predictable disaster or catastrophic event," including nuclear fallout, biological agents, chemical war gases and a viral pandemic, as well as manmade disasters "from an economic meltdown, to total anarchy."

There won't be separate rooms, like other underground shelters Vivos has built or planned in other parts of the country. Instead, would-be survivors must bring their own campers or RVs to live in. Shelter space will be sold for $1,000 per linear foot, so a family living in a 25-foot RV would pony up $25,000, Vicino said. There will also be monthly HOA dues of $20 per person.

In non-disaster times, owners would be able to use the complex, smack in the middle of America, as an underground vacation resort.

ARK 2.0?

As to when the end of the world above ground might come, that's anyone's guess but Vicino said it's just a matter of time.

"You can put your head in the sand and ignore reality, but you won't be immune from it. Sooner or later, we're going to have to go underground to protect yourself just as they did in World War I, just as they did in World War II and just as they did in ancient times," Vicino said. "Anybody that’s skeptical of that, we wish them the best."

As Vivos notes on its website: "It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."

(Hat tip to 21st Century Wire, where we first learned about the project.)

Related:

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Apocalypse Later: Harold Camping vs the End of the World

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