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A Ballistic Missile Base to Call Your Own

Friday, September 21, 2007; Page A17

Are you looking for that special gift for someone who has everything?

Well, how about a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile facility? Bet that special someone doesn't have one of those beauties. We're talking 45,000 square feet of usable space -- not including the tunnels -- in 16 buildings under 57 acres in the high desert near Moses Lake, west of Spokane, Wash.

An eBay bidder might win this Titan ballistic missile facility, formerly Larsen Air Force Base, which includes 57 acres, three 160-foot-tall missile silos and much more.
An eBay bidder might win this Titan ballistic missile facility, formerly Larsen Air Force Base, which includes 57 acres, three 160-foot-tall missile silos and much more. (By Bari Hotchkiss)
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And it can be yours for a mere $1.5 million, available right now on eBay!

Half the underground space has ceiling heights of 8 to 10 feet, we're told, and in the 110-foot-diameter control dome building they soar up to 65 feet. There are three 160-foot-tall missile silos -- enough to take out a major Soviet city! (Note: Missiles and nuclear warheads not included but can be purchased cheap in Pyongyang or Islamabad.)

"I think it would make a really neat resort/camp/retreat facility," says the seller, Bari Hotchkiss, who says he's a Los Angeles area entrepreneur.

Hotchkiss told us he bought the former Larsen Air Force Base complex about 10 years ago from folks who bought it when the federal government was decommissioning these older facilities in the mid-'60s and '70s.

Accept no substitutes. "None of [the other old missile bases] has useable electrical systems etc," Hotchkiss says in his ad. "Most all of them have major water problems -- either completely filled with water or gone to rust. Ours is one of the rare ones, and the only useable Titan that . . . is DRY!" So what are you waiting for?

Hotchkiss is open to working out a joint-venture arrangement. "I kind of wanted to develop it," he said, "but I haven't had the time, and it's 1,300 miles away."

The 1950s vintage installation will take a bit of work, Hotchkiss told us, depending on your needs and how much you want to restore. There is a private well and electrical power on the site, and propane can be trucked in. The five-story elevators need to be retrofitted, and you might want to fix up or rebuild the storage building and trailer homes. So costs for upgrades could range from several hundred thousand dollars to the millions.

But the possibilities are endless. A Golden Door salon? A paintball convention center? Star Trek headquarters? A new location for Dick Cheney?

Sticking to the Script

The Bush White House may be edging toward the door, but its legendary message control seems as good as ever.

Consider these internal e-mails between message manager and White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto and Sean Kevelighan, press secretary to Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle-- an exchange that, for reasons most unclear, was copied to our colleague Peter Baker.

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