For Only $1.5 Million…

If I had a million (and a half) dollars, I’d buy you a house… But what kind of house?

Would you rather have a “phenomenal location & nearly total renovation” on Queen Anne:

Queen Anne House: 110 W Smith St Seattle, WA 98119
Click to view listing

…Or a 16-building, 45,000 square foot former missile complex on (under) 57 acres in Eastern Washington:

Titan Missile Base
Click to view listing

Ok, granted, it would probably cost another $1.5 million to bring the base up to fully-functioning “evil genius secret lair” status. But still, even for $3 million, when given the choice between this:

Magnolia House: 3020 Magnolia Blvd W, Seattle, WA 98199
Click to view listing

And this:

Titan Missile Base
Click to view drawings

Who wouldn’t take the underground fortress? I mean, come on.

But seriously though, even if I did have a million (and a half) dollars, I wouldn’t buy a house. Some day, sure, but not a chance in today’s market. The market for mind-bogglingly enormous underground bases is probably a different story though…

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


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  2. 2
    CKT says:

    Holy crap! You can buy a freaking underground missile complex!?! Sign me up!

    Think about how many ponies you could fit in one of those complexes. But at least Queen Anne isn’t far from Ballard, where pretty pink sparkly ponies roam free and eat gooey, gooey gumdrops that fall from the sky…

  3. 3
    Rob Dawg says:

    The hydrazine and exotic lubricant and toxic metals contamination issues makes this site worth some unknowable but ultimately negative value.

    It is still so cool I am having trouble trying to stop myself. ;-)

    World broadcast rights to the future aviation contests that could be held in the “Big Dome” alone are worth 10x the minimum bid.

  4. 4
    Joel says:

    Hey they aren’t making any more underground missle silos. And aren’t toxic metals a good hedge against inflation?

  5. 5
    Joel says:

    Is this not all kinds of awesome?

    …you could build an apartment in the AIR INTAKE BUILDING, which OVERLOOKS the Power Dome so you could have an UNDERGROUND APARTMENT WITH A VIEW!!

  6. 6
    Norm says:

    Rochester is 350 miles away from NYC and the economics of upstate NY are not comparable to NYC. This is like comparing Couer d’Alene to Seattle–except Couer d’Alene is closer to Seattle than Rochester is to NYC. One winter at Lakewood and you might rethink your choice of location, location, location.

  7. 7
    deejayoh says:

    I wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinner

  8. 8
    rose-colored-coolaid says:

    So there’s dozens of regulars on this site. If each kicks in $50k, we buy it outright. We use the leftover nuclear waste and ‘hot’ metals to generate a clean, efficient and free source of power. Next, we pay migrant workers to steal vegetation from nearby farms, which we can.

    Then sit back in our safe haven and watch chaos unfold across the world while eating canned foods.

    In 15 years when things settle down, we climb out of our silo, and use our genetically modified bodies to overpower the surface dwellers and take their things. Mwa Ha Ha.

  9. 9
    Buceri says:

    OH, diabolical, Mr. Coolaid, diabolical!!!!

  10. 10
    bigdollordog says:

    ….or a choice to make a movie like Napolan Dynomite, that was, I think under a million, but made some big coin

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    Jay says:

    How about a SHORT SALE on Lake WA for $1.5M (and who said they don’t have short sales by formerly wealthy flippers on Lake WA)?

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    Jay says:

    Opps, its only $1.25M! What a bargain. Sign me up. Underground silo not included.

  13. 13
    laxtosnoco says:

    This is not a tough choice. The first home could be nicely accessorized with a coy pond in the backyard.

    The second could have a moat filled with sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!

  14. 14
    Alan says:

    I’m going to go for the underground fortress.

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    The Tim says:

    I wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinner

    But we would. We’d just eat more.

  17. 17
    Onlooker says:

    The sales history on that Lake WA home is amazing.
    Date Price
    09/29/2006 $1,250,000
    04/17/2006 $985,000
    10/24/2003 $665,000

    At last they got to own it for a year I guess.

  18. 18
    EconE says:

    OMG. Thanks for the laugh Tim! Too F’n funny!

    BTW…can you believe how many views that “thing” has gotten on Ebay?

  19. 19
    Old Ballard says:

    I’ve you all beat. Check out the side show.

  20. 20
    FormerNativeNYorker says:

    Yes, Norm I remember fondly the upstate NY winters. 12 ft. was a light dusting. My sis lives in NYC and 1.5 mil will get you a small coop in her building on the 2nd floor.

  21. 21
    Charles Wilson says:

    I wish I had $1.5 million sitting around. I’d buy the missile site and make it into a new town. One of the silos would hold city hall, the library and the local school. The other would hold various stores. The third would hold a gigantic recreational complex, including (at the very bottom) a rowdy gay bar that I would call “The Prairie Dog.”

  22. 22
    nitsuj says:

    I wonder if they make huge Nerf darts you could load into one of the silos and launch and neighboring towns for fun?

  23. 23
    Teacher Greg says:

    The island is 2.3 Million Canandian dollars…that is about 5 Million US.

  24. 24
    James says:

    Now that puts the Seattle housing market in perspective.

  25. 25
    Ira Sacharoff says:

    You just know that if that missile silo were located in Western Washington they’d be converting it into 20 “tasteful, world class ” condos and selling each one for half a million, “wine cellar” included.

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    JohnnyBigSpenda says:

    all the banks are writing off as much as they can right now. they are using their get out jail free card right now since wallstreet was expecting this across the board. Wallstreet and the banks would rather have one or two bad quarters and then have clean balance sheet going forward.. instead of dragging it out for 3-5 quarters or more… i’m sure this post will elicit some comments from the peanut gallery.

  28. 28
    nitsuj says:

    “You just know that if that missile silo were located in Western Washington they’d be converting it into 20 “tasteful, world class ” condos and selling each one for half a million, “wine cellar” included.”

    LOL!! and due to unforeseen demand they’d be releasing add’l units on the market earlier than expected.

  29. 29
    Jackson Wallace says:

    The underground fortress has no electrical or septic left…YIKES! how much would that take to do? You could rent it to movies though – it would make a perfect set for everything from military scenes to horror movies. Amazing potential as a haunted house/ event party setup as well, except that its in Grant Country, and those sheriffs dont like having fun AT ALL. No imagination in the minds of those bozos. There’s also the restaurant potential as well. The site must be somewhat cleaned up for them to sell it to the public I would imagine. Think about heating it as well…

  30. 30
    Jackson Wallace says:

    how about a southwest batcave? Note the runoff mark continuing from the redrock to the front of the house.
    How long will this place last? Who built this weirdness?

  31. 31


    Look what $115K gets you [it looks as nice as that Seattle home for $1.5M].

  32. 32
    Inductivist says:

    Golly! This would be just the ticket for affluent, clinically paranoid survivalist types.

    You could put the gold ingots in one chamber, the dobermans in the next, use the Power Dome as a subterranean parade ground/indoor firing range, and still have room left over for the wife and kids.

    The blast-door revetments would make great plinths for heroic statues of Tom Clancy.

  33. 33
    Inductivist says:

    The house at 110 W Smith (MLS 27149453) is an odd case. It’s been on and off the market since late last winter, I believe. In fact, I think the original listing price was *less* than it is now (what logic is behind that?). I think it was originally listed with a different agency, too.

    It’s a nice, Craftsman-era house with a bit of period detail intact, but some of the interior remodeling would be more at home in a Clyde Hill mansionette.

    This kind of thing reinforces my general feeling that area realtors are trying to keep prices up by acts of levitation.

  34. 34
    Ira Sacharoff says:

    Yup, there’s definitely some twisted thinking going on. Some real estate agents are advising their sellers not to lower prices, because “prices are still rising”, but sales have slowed, and they don’t want to lower prices because buyers will then wait till prices drop further.. But most sellers don’t have the luxury of waiting til prices start going up again, and those agents are serving nobody, including themselves.

  35. 35
    nitsuj says:

    Pierce must be missing the pink ponies. Kitsap must have a ranch of ’em!

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    Old Ballard says:

    Teacher Greg said, on October 4th, 2007 at 6:40 pm, the island is 2.3 Million Canandian dollars…that is about 5 Million US.

    Come on already!!!! Your raining on my parade.

    But JFY here’s the current exchange rate.

    If you explore the web site you’ll find islands that are completely undeveloped for 500k. Just let me have my Northface tent, fishing and hunting gear and a few books and I’d still be happy.

  39. 39
    Mack McCoy says:

    There’s a wonderful story by Dorothy Parker called “The Cost Of Living,” which is a great read for anybody playing the “What If You Or I Had A Windfall …”

  40. 40

    […] Bubble, a great counterpoint to the relentless optimism of commission-starved Realtors, found a gem of a property: 57 acres, massive square footage, and a unique structure from the mid-20th […]

  41. 41
    Dean Holland says:

    If you have $1.5 million, please make sure to invest it very conservatively for a 1/2 percent gain each month, so you can travel the world on $7,500 a month living expenses for the rest of your life. If you invest it in Hungarian government bonds returning 16% annually, you would have $20,000 income each month. Not too bad.

  42. 42

    Visualizing the Euro as the new world’s new modern gold standard reserve currency, with the dollar being completely worthless to savvy globalized investors, the floodgates have only now been opened…I hear that every Scientologist is now required to find their own private bunker, led by their couch jumping head cheerleader Tom Cruz, so the market for underground bunkers that protect us from the next wave of Alien Invasions should explode during the next two decades…they will become the sanctuaries of the rich cabal that knows Christ is not the center of the Universe.

  43. 43

    haha that underground place reminds me of that cartoon my son watches… dexters lab? but yea, id definitely take the underground place… especially with the potential threat of nuclear arms constantly springing about :/

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    […] Dollar Decision MakingBy The Tim on January 20, 2010 | Leave a responseIn the spirit of this 2007 post… let’s say you have a million bucks that you’re going to use to buy some real […]

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