ATCHISON, Kan. - If you have a recreational vehicle, you could have a spot underground at the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort .
An old, man-made cave just south of Atchison used to serve as storage for the government. Now it's turning into a temporary home for people willing to pay for advertised survival.
A California company named Vivos is renovating more than 2 million square feet of underground space, turning it into the world's largest doomsday shelter.
Vivos founder and CEO Robert Vicino said he searched 30 years for a cave like this. He said the limestone bunker is in a perfect location here in the Heartland. Vicino said it's central for people all across the country and world, seeking refuge from catastrophe.
"Perhaps an asteroid, perhaps something from space or maybe it's just the heating up of terrorism or nuclear event somewhere in the world," Vicino said.
The cave will have room for 5,000 people living in up to 1,500 RVs. Customers will buy a spot and pay $1,000 per lineal foot of their vehicle. A 25-foot-long RV would cost $25,000 plus a $1,500 charge per person to pay for a year's worth of provided food and toiletries.
"We're becoming a modern day fortress or a citadel with ample security, fully underground storage and all the other amenities that are needed to survive," Vicino said.
The complex will be a true resort with indoor golfing, a bowling alley and swimming pool complete with a water slide among many other amenities.
Exterior entrances will be outfitted with blast-proof doors and the limestone will provide a natural shell Vicino said is six times stronger than traditional concrete.
Members will be able to visit whenever they like. Vicino expects up to 500 people to make the trip to Atchison every weekend.
Vivos has built a handful of other shelters across North America, but those are furnished suite-style accommodations and much more expensive. Vicino said the Atchison project will give access to people with more modest incomes.
"We're not capitalizing on fears, we're resolving them," Vicino said. "We're providing a life assurance solution to the concerns that people have."
Construction begins in late August with the first phase of construction done by November. Vicino's $25 million in renovations could be completely finished within a year.
In addition to hundreds of construction jobs, Vicino said he plans to add a permanent staff of 50 full-time workers.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Latest Kansas News
Westar Energy says it has received several reports from customers of fraudulent calls from scammers posing as employees of the Topeka-based electric utility.