An underground home in Las Vegas listed at US$18 million in 2019, but then delisted, has resurfaced (so to speak) for a paltry US$5.9 million.
The home is 26 feet (8 metres) deep in the earth, about 2.5 miles (four kilometres) from the famous Las Vegas Strip.
When it was suggested back in 2019 the US$18 million listing tag was rather pricey, the then listing agent, Stephan LaForge of BHHS Nevada Properties, said: “It’s nothing of the sort.
“The price reflects the price to rebuild. It would cost at least $18 million to dig a third-of-an-acre hole and reinforce it with a half-mile of solid-steel I-beams. Then you must factor in all the other features and amenities the bunker contains.”
The Underground House, measuring more than 15,000 sq. ft., is designed to make it feel like a normal home with a yard, grass, swimming pool, trees and murals painted to look like landscaping and the horizon. There is even an underground casita for visitors.
The grass and trees are artificial, as are decorative rocks. Being underground, it can be whatever time of day you want it to be. The lights can be adjusted to a night sky of twinkling stars on the ceiling or adjusted to reflect the sunlight at different times of the day.
The home was built in 1978 by Jerry Henderson, a businessman and philanthropist who was a director of Avon Products. He was a subterranean living enthusiast (no relationship to gophers was found in the research) who owned a company called Underground World Homes. That company also built a 45,000-sq.-ft. underground compound in Colorado and sponsored an underground home exhibit at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Underground living was more topical then, what with the Cold War and all.
After Henderson’s death in 1983, his wife, not fond of the underground life, built an above ground, two-bedroom town home on the site. After her death in 1989, the home changed hands several times, eventually going into foreclosure.
The home is now owned by the Society for the Preservation of Near Extinct Species, a secretive group devoted to promoting human life extension.
Tee Thompson is a member of the society in the home for a while.
“When you go down there, you’re in a capsule and go back in time,” Thompson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2018.
“I get to choose whether I want it day, night, dusk or dawn. When it is dark, it is pitch black, and it’s very peaceful and quiet. I don’t get to hear the outside elements. It’s beautiful being down here. If you’re not focused on what you’re doing, you lose track of time.”
Society president Mark Voelker, who lives above ground in the townhouse, says the property has become quite the tourist attraction and has suggestions what a new owner could do with the place.
“You could have a rave down there and no one would hear you,” he says. “It would be perfect as a home for people who are allergic to sunlight or people who want the ultimate in privacy.
“It’s more like a novelty. An attraction.”
Well, in Vegas, US$5.9 million has been spent on a lot of other things, so why not an attraction?
Myke Thomas is a Western Standard contributor. He has a wealth of media background, working in radio, television and most recently as the real estate columnist, reporter and editor at the Calgary Sun for 22 years.