TWO Wirral-based brothers are converting a former nuclear missile launch site into the world’s safest family home.
Darryl Gregson, whose Blue Sky Construction company is based in Gayton, Wirral, is spearheading the project across the Atlantic in Kansas with his brother, Hadyn.
Their project, appropriately named World’s End, is a declassified ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) launch facility buried 200ft into the American countryside.
Built to withstand a direct nuclear attack, the facility originally cost the US government tens of millions of dollars to construct and fit out.
But Darryl, 47, says he managed to get the site at a fraction of that cost.
Similar projects built from scratch on the scale of the Gregsons’ colossal venture would cost close to £300m to complete.
Darryl said: “This is a very serious project and has taken a great deal of work and effort. The drawings alone have cost £100,000.
“I was watching Britain’s Best Homes last night, but nothing on there has the sort of ‘Wow’ factor something like this has.
“I mean, how many other homes can withstand a 200- megatonne nuclear explosion while the owner is having a swim and doesn’t even notice?”
The brothers made their money in construction and their Phase Developments building company was once based at Liverpool Marina.
Domestic projects have included spectacular Hollywood-style properties across Merseyside from Riverside Drive, in Aigburth, to Spital in Wirral.
Now the pair are half-way through a six-year construction programme that has attracted interest from high-profile names. Their project taps into an unusual market that is developing stateside based on the belief, and fear of, a “man-made Armageddon”.
Tom Cruise and fellow Scientologists are rumoured to be building a $10m bunker at his Colorado ranch to escape the fall out of a world-shattering explosion in their accustomed luxury.
The strange amalgam of paranoid self-protection and six-star luxury is evident at the front door.
A massive hangar entry portal is designed to lift up, taking with it a six-foot thick covering of earth, trees and vegetation. Once open, there is plenty of room to land one’s helicopter and park at least a couple of top-of-the-range cars.
At the rear of the entry hangar is a 20-tonne steel armour plated blast door which comes before a six-inch thick steel reinforced door.
Darryl is defensive about the type of people who will eventually move into his labour of love.
He said: “Most people could draw their own conclusions by instantly assuming that anyone wishing to live underground in a subterranean home would be paranoid about World War III or alien attack from a galaxy far, far away.
“How wrong you would be. A secure structure is nothing new, as Tutankhamen had the same vision 3,000 years ago.
“We all live in a very troubled world; whether it is global climate change, or potential terrorist strikes that can happen at any time. Even if the nuclear threat never happens, what about power station accidents, natural disasters.
“This is really up to you. There is enough storage space within World’s End to allow a whole team of people to live happily for many years, without interacting with the outside world.
“Anther important function is the idea we can try out brand new technology that we can use in our homes of the future.”
Indeed, the blueprints when seen first-hand defy belief. Every detail of the bunker is considered, from the video-relayed scenes displayed on screens outside the underground windows to the hi-tech air filtration unit.