We Ventured Down Into the Las Vegas Underground House—Who Might Buy This Place?

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Las Vegas Underground House


I’ve looked at many homes and travelled to many cities, but I’ve never seen anything like the Underground House in Las Vegas.

Part authentic time capsule dwelling, part Doomsday bunker, part fantasyland, it’s a unique dwelling unlike anything else in the world.

The underground home’s price history is also unique. The original owner purchased the 1-acre lot in the 1970s. He spent an estimated $10 million excavating and building this 15,000-square-foot, Cold War-era luxury bunker about 2.5 miles from the Vegas Strip.

After changing hands several times over the years, the property was rescued from foreclosure in 2015, for just $1.15 million.

In 2019, it landed on the market with an aspirational price tag of $18 million. It attracted plenty of buzz and popped up in our weekly look at the most popular homes a couple of times. However, no offers materialized, and the bunker languished on the market for two years.

Earlier this year, the price was chopped by a whopping 67%. Now priced at $5.9 million, the lair may finally coax a buyer to descend and make an offer.

“The current owners realized that with the expense of maintenance and improvements, it would be best to put it back on the market at a more realistic price,” says the listing agent, Stephen LaForge of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Nevada. As a boy, LaForge rode his bike by the property when it was being developed. Now, as an adult, he’s been representing it for several years.

He knows every nook and cranny, sight, and smell of this underground domestic utopia. He was also gracious enough to give us the grand tour.

“Yard” of the Las Vegas Underground House


On terra firma

When I pulled up to the property, I could tell that it was in transition.

At street level, it’s fully walled and gated. The above-ground parcel is marked by sand, shaggy palms, weeds, and a fountain in progress. There are also some noticeable air vents and a few faux-rock structures with doors, which provide stairway access. A two-story stucco house from the 1980s is also sitting on the lot.

The house above the bunker


The above-ground house was built by the original owner’s widow in 1985, after her husband died.

That original owner was Jerry Henderson, a businessman and philanthropist who was a director of Avon Products. A noted underground living enthusiast, he sponsored an Underground Home exhibit at the New York World’s Fair. He developed his own take on residence underground in Vegas in the late 1970s.

After his passing, his widow no longer wanted to live the underground life and commissioned the two-story home on terra firma.

She opted out of the underground lair and walked away from the two-bedroom, three-bathroom subterranean home. It has plenty of fun features underground, including a pool, waterfalls, two spas, an “outdoor” barbecue, putting green, and lighting that can be customized to change in sync with the time of day.

Honestly, the above-ground home has seen better days. It’s currently divided into several apartments, one inhabited by the property’s caretaker. By the way, the list price also includes his live-in services for a full year.

Pool, spa, and waterfalls


“Flintstones” barbecue


“Her” underground bedroom


Begin the descent

The elevator that takes you down to the underground home is located inside the house.

The elevator is compact, but features a window looking out onto the elevator shaft, which is painted to give you the impression that you’re descending into a mine 200 feet below the Earth’s surface. It’s cute, but you’re truly only descending about 17 feet.

You step out into what feels like an open lobby. There’s a 12-foot ceiling, faux stone underfoot, and a well-lit glass cabinet filled with crystal-like curios and information on underground houses.

The display is prominently placed, because the current owners want to disseminate their ideas.

It’s owned by the Society for the Preservation of Near-Extinct Species, which claims that one of the current purposes of the property “is to exhibit collections of documents and memorabilia in order to preserve its historic significance as a structure that was built to exist in perpetuity … ideal for storing and exhibiting cryo-preserved biological specimens (including the DNA of near-extinct species), organs for transplant, and other biological tissue.”

Well, then. At least that explains the giant, silolike, stainless-steel cryogenic storage chamber just around the corner.

Now I began to understand the unique properties of the Las Vegas Underground House, and the potential buyers for whom it might have the most value.

To my mind, the tour revealed four types of buyers who might be interested. Here are the candidates:

The committed prepper

These are the buyers who want to extend their life as long as possible by cocooning in a fortresslike retreat. Hidden below the Earth, they hope to avoid natural disaster, ne’er-do-wells, and disease.

And although there’s really nothing built that can protect you from a direct hit from a nuclear bomb, this place comes close.

It has a network of massive steel beams overhead (I crawled into the underground “attic” to see them) and sturdy cement support posts disguised as tree trunks. To my untrained eye, it certainly looked as if it could keep you safer than 99% of the population.

Preppers could also live completely off the grid here, because the property features two 500-gallon water tanks and a diesel generator. It’s hooked up at the moment to city water, sewer, and power systems, but that could change if a buyer so desired.

Structural rendering


The artificial magnolia tree also serves as a sturdy cement supporting post.


A 1970s aficionado

The underground house and and guesthouse are filled to the brim with 1970s kitsch that would be near impossible to replicate.

I loved the pink-trimmed Barbie kitchen with original appliances, like a pop-out wall toaster and a cream-colored, in-wall intercom system.

I also swooned over the groovy furniture, like the bar stools with giant poker-chip seats, sputnik hanging lamps, and giant slipper chairs. All the furnishings are included in the price.

Outside the house, on the “lawn,” there are even a couple of stripper poles and an expertly lit disco ball, which hovers above a dance floor.

It was easy to envision the bitchin’ weekend retreat parties that could be thrown down there.



Family room


Living room


Partylike atmosphere


Consider the restaurateur

From tables and chairs to linen, glassware, and china, the home is sold fully equipped. Perhaps an entrepreneurial buyer would want to entertain guests and charge them for a meal.

The home’s kitchen is sizable and could be upgraded to professional status.

A family room already features a bar and could serve as a ready-made lounge. Meanwhile, the bedrooms could be converted into fun private dining suites.

That leaves vast expanses of lawn (green carpet!), where dining tables can be placed. By my amateur estimation, the lawn could accommodate at least 40 guest tables.

The whole setup could be updated into something far more chic, or alternatively, be kept as it is and marketed as another quirky Las Vegas theme attraction.

Dining area


“His” bedroom


Dining area


Could this work as a club?

All told, a club promoter seems the most natural fit for the place.

It is the perfect party pad, with yards of open, padded flooring, vast walls that could be turned into display screens, and a fortified underground location where no one can hear you sing.

You could crank up the music—and the neighbors would be oblivious.

Not only that, but the pool reminds me of the legendary Playboy Mansion grotto, which featured a pool I was once lucky enough to dip my toes into.

On a more practical note, it has tons of parking space above ground, and it’s a quick ride-share to the Strip.

Wall murals


Grottolike pool


About the price

LaForge reports that thus far, interested buyers have been reluctant to offer several million dollars for the property. Especially when public record shows the current owners purchased it for $1.15 million.

On the other hand, he says that when you consider the amount it would cost to build a similar facility from scratch, the $5.9 million is a relative steal.

One thing is clear: The sky (or shall we say the Earth?) is the limit for this property.

The post We Ventured Down Into the Las Vegas Underground House—Who Might Buy This Place? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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