Explore The World’s Largest ‘Doomsday’ Community, Meet The Man Behind It All – Terra Vivos

This man is building a survivalist city the size of Manhattan

While countries around the world continue to grapple with volatile wars, the threat of nuclear disaster and the prospect of future pandemics, one secretive community nestled in the wilds of the American Midwest has been planning for a global disaster long before coronavirus struck.

Read on to take a virtual tour of this sprawling doomsday refuge, designed to shelter 5,000 people should the worst occur – and meet the man behind it all…

South Dakota’s best-kept secret

Hidden away from the world in South Dakota’s remote Black Hills, Vivos xPoint is the self-proclaimed largest survival community in the world.

From the sky, the site looks like little more than a vast expanse of undulating land. In reality, however, each small hill is home to an underground bunker, stretching as far as the eye can see.

Military heyday

The compound’s history dates back to 1942, just after the United States entered the Second World War. Fort Igloo was established as the US Army’s Black Hills Ordnance Depot, named after the hundreds of reinforced concrete domes built to store weapons and ammunition.

Once bustling with workers and their families, the military base was eventually closed in 1967 and the site abandoned.

Disaster-proof real estate

Around 2016, real estate mogul Robert Vicino bought up the land from a local cattle rancher, having founded Vivos, a global underground network of apocalypse shelters, back in 2008.

With its expanse of blast-proof concrete bunkers, the vast compound was the perfect fit for his plans to create a sprawling survivalist community.

Building for the end of the world

Vicino has been building shelters for a decade. He built his first bunker community back in 2012 and now sees it as his life’s calling. 

“I don’t want to build anything. I have to. There are thousands of people who believe we are living in very dangerous times. There’s going to be an extinction-level event,” he explained to Netflix when they visited the site back in 2018.

“My mission is to build as many shelters for as many people as possible, in time, before the end of the world.” 

Secure location

Vivos xPoint is ideally located to help Vicino fulfill his mission. Situated in one of the safest areas in North America, it’s at least 100 miles away from the nearest known military nuclear targets.

Perched at an altitude of 3,800 feet, the site is at a distance from any large bodies of water and enjoys relatively mild weather, minimizing the likelihood of freak weather events.

Closely guarded compound

Almost the size of Manhattan, Vivos xPoint encompasses 18 square miles of secure land, with 575 bunkers arranged along 100 miles of private roads.

Built like a fortress, the fenced compound has just one road in and out, allowing the 24/7 onsite security team, comprising military-trained guards, to identify anyone approaching the property from up to three miles away.

An insurance policy

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Vivos says demand for its bunkers grew exponentially, with inquiries and applications up over 1,000% year on year, while annual sales increased by 400%.

The company refers to its underground hideouts as a “backup plan for mankind”, an insurance policy of sorts should a global catastrophe strike.

Making the cut

However, securing your own bunker in Vivos xPoint isn’t quite as simple as purchasing a unit.

Prospective applicants have to first apply for membership, detailing skills and areas of expertise that may come in handy should the end of the world roll around. After careful vetting, the best candidates are selected from the membership pool and invited to join the community.

Virtually indestructible

If your application is successful, you’ll be able to purchase one of the compound’s private concrete shelters. Built by the army to withstand a 500,000-pound internal blast, these tough hideouts are as resilient as they come.

The semi-subterranean structures feature a large bulkhead wall and a steel blast door that seals to prevent water, air or gas from entering, while thick berms of earth covering the domed roof add extra protection.

The price of protection

According to the Vivos website, you can purchase a private bunker for an upfront payment of $55,000, plus an ongoing annual ground rent of $1,000 per shelter.

The units are sold as shells without furnishings or equipment. Full outfitting is available for an extra cost, which the company says can be as much as $75,000, depending on the finish. However, Vivos’ show bunker illustrates what can be achieved…

Behind the blast doors…

Robert Vicino gave Netflix viewers a glimpse behind the blast doors of the company’s prototype on the TV series Amazing Interiors back in 2018. The show documented the outfitting of the unit, which is designed to demonstrate the potential of these wartime relics to prospective buyers.

Abandoned since the 1960s, the reinforced bunker required a major overhaul to transform it into a comfortable space for modern living. As well as configuring the interior floor plan and fixtures, there was also the matter of installing what Vicino calls the “mechanical life safety systems” to deal with any catastrophic future events. 

stylish subterranean retreat

Inside, the finished product is astonishing. Encompassing around 2,200 square feet of floor space, Vivos says that each bunker has the capacity to accommodate 10 to 24 people along with their supplies for a year or more, without the need to venture outside.

And what’s more, you’ll be far from slumming it. The outfitted model offers a spacious, open floor plan with wood-effect floors and zoned living areas.

Flexible living space

Distinctive spaces for cooking, dining and relaxing create a functional, family-friendly layout, while living areas and storage can be extended even further with the addition of an attic level.

This prototype design has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, but ultimately, buyers get free rein to create a hideout home that works for them.

Functional fixtures

The compact kitchen has everything you need to cook up a storm, from a full-sized fridge and oven to a snug breakfast bar.

Rather than merely catering to the super-rich like some survival shelter companies, Vivos says its members are “well-educated, average people with a keen awareness of the current global events.” 

Going off-grid

Running completely off the grid, the bunkers are designed to be hooked up to solar arrays and wind turbines, generating their own power source that won’t be affected if a national blackout occurs.

Water is drawn from two underground wells and stored in reinforced concrete water tanks, while a water distribution system services each individual bunker.

A secure sanctuary

As well as cozy sitting areas and no shortage of space to socialize, the bunkers also have a series of measures in place to limit the spread of harmful germs or gases.

Vivos explains: “All of our shelters have air scrubbers to eliminate all pathogens and radioactive particles before entering the underground space.”

Plenty of privacy

A stark contrast to the fallout shelters constructed in basements and backyards during the Cold War, where a whole family would often hole up in a single fortified room, Vivos xPoint’s underground hideouts can accommodate plenty of private bedrooms.

There’s enough floor space for a generous master like this, plus the usual wardrobes and furnishings you’d expect at home.

Space for the whole family

You can even add bunk rooms to your shelter’s design, perfect for younger members of the family – there’d be no arguing over sleeping arrangements here.

According to the company, the shelters can withstand everything from a surface blast wave to radioactive fallout, so the compound’s residents can sleep easy at night.

Creature comforts

In the event of a global disaster, locking down doesn’t have to mean sacrificing life’s little luxuries.

The Vivos show bunker features a full-sized bathroom, complete with a composting toilet, bathtub, and overhead shower, so there’s no need to go without a long, indulgent soak in the tub.

The lap of luxury

For survivalists with a taste for the finer things in life, the sky’s the limit when it comes to customization.

Pictured here, Vivos’ deluxe floor plan offers an idea of the luxe bunker setup you could create – if you can foot the bill that is. The perfect billionaire bolthole, this extravagant design even comes with a home cinema.

Plush accommodation

This interior render reveals a whole host of indulgent extras, from a pool table and bar to LED windows that simulate scenic views of the outside world. We wouldn’t mind being locked down here if the end of the world rolled around!

Opulent sleeping quarters

The master bedroom is equally as extravagant, with polished wood floors, dramatic feature walls and atmospheric spotlights – more akin to a luxury suite in an upmarket hotel than a doomsday shelter.

While pricing isn’t available for this deluxe design, we have a feeling it might include more than a few zeros…

A market for the prepper mentality

There’s evidently an appetite for modern survival shelters. Here, Robert Vicino shows prospective buyers, Megan and Michael, around the show bunker.

Megan explains why they’re so motivated to invest in a fortified hideout: “If anything were to happen, if it would be a disaster or a war… just to be able to have that peace of mind that we have a place that we can go to, that you have food, you have clothes, you have everything you need there. It’s reassuring really.”

Meanwhile, when the pandemic struck back in 2020, Vivos saw an uptick in snap investments in the company’s apocalypse-proof real estate, while some of its members even hunkered down in their bunkers.

A potential plan B?

Vivos has plans to add more amenities to the South Dakota site in the future, including a hot tub, spa, and theater for members to enjoy when it’s safe to resurface.

Ultimately though, the company sees its underground communities as humanity’s last chance. 

“What it’s about is the next generation. Providing them an opportunity to survive, to come out of the bunker someday, to look around and say, wow, we have another chance,” says Vicino.

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