Silo missle sites in various states have been and are being converted into underground homes.

Taxpayers spent $3.3MM for a silo in Topeka, Kasas which has been converted to underground living quarters.  The silo was purchased for $40,000, in bad shape, in the 1980’s by a school teacher who, with his wife, has lived there comfortably ever after.

A 3’ layer of earth covers the top layer of reinforced concrete.  Floors are 3’ thick, walls and ceilings 18” thick and 15’ high.  The special concrete structure was built by the government to withstand a nuclear blast.   The folks who live in it say, “We love the solid, quiet feel of the place.  Not only is it very well built – it is very easy to heat and cool.”  This home has a large greenhouse around the hatch, which brings sunlight into the living space and was formerly used for heavy equipment to manipulate the missiles.  

About half of these former military sites are owned privately or by cities, counties, school districts, water companies and other commercial entities.  This is a niche market for a unique home for real estate agents.  The schoolteacher has made 55 sales, of which 5 have turned over more than once. They said that buyers include some military or former military personnel who are familiar with the silos, and know the benefits.  Others are looking for interesting projects to restore, and some want the seclusion, privacy and security.  Some buyers are survival-oriented.”

Mortgages and appraisals are a challenge.   “Prices have increased and are rising,” they said.

A former 14.5 acre Nike missile base in southeastern Indiana has been converted to three 5,000 sq ft residential spaces.  One features a kitchen, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an exercise room indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi tub.  All have single-phase electric, city water, paved access with remote-control rolling front gates and high security chain link fencing topped with barbed wire. 

An Atlas F site is for sale now in the Adirondack Mountains in New York.  Diameter is 52’ and depth is 180’.  It holds a 2300 sq ft 2-story contemporary home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, finished interiors, a spiral staircase, fiber-optic lighting, a generator and new well.  The floor plan is open, there is a large garage and wraparound porch that hides the underground entryway.  Price has been reduced from $4.6mm to $750,000.  The entrance features heavy security doors that were built to withstand a 2000-lb blast.  Location is on part of an exclusive airport subdivision on a 2050 foot Federal Aviation Administration-approved runway.

A communications vault in Paris, Missouri near the Mark Twain recreational lake is available, needing “fix-up”.  There are 8200 sq ft of usable underground floor space on this 13-acre site.  Ceilings and walls are 24” thick and 2’ to 4’ of earth cover the underground area.  A metal shield envelopes the structure and there are heavy blast doors with an emergency-escape hatch exit.  The property is available for $295,000.  Electricity works and most rooms have heaters and dehumidifiers.

Here is a unique living style which has a following of those seeking secure homes in hardened cold war facilities.


THE BALLINGER HOUSE, a/k/a Villa Leoncini in Palm Beach

Built by Addison Mizner in 1926, inspired by Lake Como villas, this fine property sits on 3/4 acres next door to Palm Beach's exclusive Bath & Tennis Club.

Featured in this Mediterranean Revival-style property are a 3-story tower, 5 bedrooms, a 2-bedroom guest house, and award-winning gardens that are a showcase of tropical plantings archived in the Smithsonian's Garden Club of America Collection.  The estate was landmarked in 1985.  It has a villa-like atmosphere.

The dining room features a pecky cypress beamed ceiling, fireplace and blue and white tiled walls.

The formal motor court entrance circles around the center fountain, past the 3-car garage, and up to the wrought-iron front entrance gates.

The property overlooks the Ocean.



PALAZZO TANAGLI dates back to the XVIth C. and was totally restored in 2004.  It is located in Florence,Italy,just  a few minutes walk to the cathedral and Ponte Vecchio.

Within 3700 sq ft you will find grand halls, hand-painted ceilings, oak wood floors and hand-painted frescoes that resound with history and radiate enchanting beauty.  There are 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a grand living room, beautifully finished kitchen and office/bedroom.  Beautiful balconies and terraces open up to the courtyard and street below.  2-car garage.  EURO 4MM - EURO 6MM.



"Farralone," built in 1951 with 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, is on the market, where Sinatra hosted such well know celebs as Lucille Ball and Ava Gardner. Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli renewed their wedding vows there. Marilyn Monroe resided in the guesthouse and had her last photo shoot there as well as her conversations with Jack Kennedy. The estate nets between $500,000-$2M per year from movie location filming alone!  List price is #12MM.  Such is the price of fame, one could say!

With its 16 ft. ceilings the interior is surrounded by glass walls that open seamlessly to the outdoor spaces. The 10,000 sq. ft. main estate, surrounded by two acres of rolling lawn, is up a long, winding private road on 5.5 acres. It boasts a grand gallery and three lower level private offices complete with a conference room. 

The one bedroom/1.5 bath guest house is 1,000 sq. ft. with its own pool. A detached gym is located adjacent to the stunning 50 ft. pool.  Sinatra rented this house for several years and then bought it, and sold it later. Included are a conference room, gymnasium, guest house with 4 bedrooms,  5 1/2 baths and 13' ceilings, offices, vineyard, pool and parking space for 200+ cars.  A separate private winding road leads up the hill to this "Glass House on the Hill."  The estate is spread out on 9.5 acres.


Just hours before being slated for demolition, a 98-year old Ft Lauderdale house began its move to an empty lot in Hammershee Village.

The Shippey house, occupied by Broward’s second judge Fred Shippey in 1913, will become office space at its new location on Southwest Third Avenue near the New River Inn and Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.

The exterior of the home will be restored to its 1913 state and serve as a historic site.

The Friends of Shippey House Inc. saved the building from destruction after it went into foreclosure and a New York state-based company bought the property.



1248 Coral Way

82 years old, and lived in by owner for 70+ years, this historic home in Miami has 3900 sq ft, 6 bedrooms and 5 baths.

Buyers at auction and another couple plan to renovate and restore the house to its former conditions in the 1920's and add some modern amenities.  This will cost $1mm.  


Don't miss Flamingo Park's historic home tour

The above house on Flamingo Drive will be one of 9 houses on the tour.

Flamingo Park is getting all dressed up for the holidays and for its 20th anniversary. The annual neighborhood home tour features nine homes and gardens this year, all decked out for the tour and for the annual Neighborhood Holiday Lighting Contest being judged the same evening.

Flamingo Park's homes feature a variety of architectural styles, from Spanish Mission to Mediterranean Revival, most built during the real estate boom of the 1920s.  Each home will offer beverages and tastings from some of the area's finest caterers and restaurants, and a homemade holiday dessert reception and candlelight concert follows the tour at 8:15 p.m. Get a bit of shopping done, and pick up a copy of Create a Stir, the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association's cookbook, which features recipes from the kitchens of Flamingo Park homeowners.

Trolley service will be available to transport guests between the homes, but the tour is suitable for adults only (no children). Wear comfortable shoes. High heels are not allowed as they mar the wood floors.

Advance tickets are available at The Armory Art Center, 1700 Parker Ave., and Belle & Maxwell's, 3700 S. Dixie Highway, both in West Palm Beach; Sam Jon's Salon at Downtown at the Gardens, 11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave., Palm Beach Gardens; Park Avenue BBQ Grille, 13897 Wellington Trace, Wellington; and Sandoway House Nature Center, 142 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach. Cash and checks only. For credit card purchases or PayPal, purchase tickets online at flamingopark.net.


When: 5-8 p.m., Dec. 4

Where: Pick up tickets and tour maps in the 700 block of Claremore Drive, five blocks north of Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach.

Tickets: $25 prior to Dec. 4 and $30 at the door. Proceeds benefit the programs and services of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association.

Info/ Margie Yansura at (561) 820-1383; www.flamingopark.net.

 Flamingo Park homes pictured may or may not be on the tour.



Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, has rented a south Florida mansion within striking distance of the January thru April Winter Equestrian Festival.  Daughter Jennifer, age 15, owns several prize ponies and is on the Junior Circuit and it is her interest in horses that is said to have led to this choice.

The Wellington estate in the Mallet Hill area pictured above is 7,352 sq ft, has a barn, horse training area and guarded acess road.  There are 8 bedrooms, wine and media rooms.  It encompasses 5 acres.  The house was built in 1997. The community is gated.  Gates has other homes in Seattle and Wyoming.

An option to buy this mansion is said to have been for $13MM.  This rental costs $600,000 per month.  Neighbors include NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bruce Springstein.



Built in 1946, this handyman property has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1824 living sq ft.  Master bedroom is 20'x15', Living Room is 31'x14', kitchen is 11'x10'.  There is no HOA and pets are allowed. 

The property is located at 880 West Dolphin Ridge Road, off Florida Mango Road, below Summit.  Priced at $62,000, the assessed value is over $113,000.  

If you are an investor and can do the fixup, the home might bring in over $135,000.  It is vacant and listed "as is".  There is a refrigerator and range.  Volume ceiling and fireplace are featured.  There is a family room, workshop and storage area.  Floors are ceramic tile.  Unfurnished.  2 parking spaces in driveway.

Roof is 5 years old; windows are 5 years old. Lot size is .17 acres.

If you would like to see the property, call Marilyn at 561-302-3388  It is a short sale.



Where will it wind up – it now sits on a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway, having been moved from the Palm Beach Country Club grounds.  

Lake Worth’s City Commissioners are considering having the cottage, which housed three generations of the Stambaugh family, moved to the eastern shore of the Lake Worth Lagoon in Old Bridge Park or to a waterfront tract on the south side of the Lake Avenue Bridge.  They have asked owner Joette Stambaugh Keen to give them a phased plan to move the cottage to Lake Worth within 30 days.

Palm Beach’s landmarks consultant for the Town of Palm Beach talked to the Commissioners  about the “life on the lake” theme, showcasing the county’s pioneer families and the ecology of the Lake Worth Lagoon, a former freshwater lake, saying they would like the Children of the county and Lake Worth to see what life was like before air conditioning and computers.  City of Lake Worth would like to find a nonprofit group to develop, staff and maintain the 1500 sq ft property if it is moved to Lake Worth.  Other possible locations include Peanut Island and Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds.



Front Porch bungalows  lined the midtown streets of Palm Beach around the turn-of-the-century.  Some still exit in Craftsman, Prairie and Arts & Crafts style.  Wood and stone are emphasized, natural materials used, accommodating living quarters to get balmy ocean breezes before the days of air conditioning.  Front porches were featured with vine-covered pergolas adding a rustic ambiance.  Dade County pine floors prevailed along with wood beamed and pecky cypress ceilings, stone fireplaces, built-in cabinets, cupboards, bookcases and seating.

Sears produced a mail-order version between 1908 and 1921 and shipped completely packaged house kits, assembled and customized for location and client by local craftsmen.  A national Craftsman Movement was sparked by Gustav Stickley, a furniture maker, who started publishing Craftsman magazine in 1901.  There were more than 200 house plans, an artful blend of form, function and convenience.  

The bungalow style helped break away from the late 19th C. focus on gingerbread trim and complex formal interiors, but popularity waned by the end of World War I, supplanted by Mediterranean, Bermuda and Caribbean styled villas with stucco enclosed courtyards and ficus hedged borders.  In time, storms took their toll as pergolas and picket fences vanished and were not replaced.  Wood frame houses became covered with synthetic sidings and stucco, and gone forever from Palm Beach was the importance of front porch life.



Shoal Creek, Alabama is the location for this French-Chateau style house with 15 bedrooms, 22 baths, 50,000+ sq ft home on 27 acres.   In addition to the main house, there are two cabana homes poolside, guest/service house, barn with living quarters, outdoor riding ring, indoor round pen, large office and lots of storage.

Featured are geothermal hvac, lutron lighting crestron control system for all electronics, Sheryl Wagner fixtures, commercial elevator, 38-seat movie theatre.   Antique light fixtures, fine draperies, marble and limestone and herringbone maple floors, slate roof with copper gutters, mahogany doors and windows, 4 pastures, 6-stall barn, 2000-bottle wine cellar and much more.
 The bedroom has similarities to the rooms in the Metropolitan Museum antique furniture section – simply gorgeous.  

 The home has the timeless design and grandeur of a European castle. The exquisite detailing of gold, silver, bronze leaf, as well as the accent painting was done by IFACTS, known for its restoration work on Buckingham Palace.

The 27-acre estate is within the Shoal Creek golf course community, which offers 24-hour security. On the market for over a year, the list price is $17,900,000.